Synopsis: Lydia McIntosh left her old life behind when she said goodbye to Prairie Town, North Carolina and started over halfway across the country with her beloved Gran; away from her family, away from everyone who knew the person she once was, and from the identity she never quite wanted in the first place. When her grandmother passes away, she returns home and while she only intends to stay for the funeral, her grandmother has other plans, from the grave. Her will states that Lydia must remain in Prairie Town for six months in order to give her family and her old town a chance to get to know the new her, the real her.
Lydia has had years to adjust to long hair, summer dresses, and nail polish, but she understands her family will need time to get reacquainted with a daughter they’ve never known and a sister they’ve missed terribly. Anticipating the worst, as she always has, Lydia’s feelings about her old town begin to change when she meets her brother’s best friend, Callum. Callum is kind and more accepting than she could have ever imagined and she’s falling for him.
When her 180 days are over, will she be able to say goodbye to the family she’s missed so much? Will she survive her mother’s endless intolerance? Can she really leave the man who acknowledges her past and still wants her?
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It’s the first book I ever read that had a transgender person in it. This story is about a woman who was born in a man’s body and decided to fix it. The obstacles of trying to gain acceptance from others, especially family, and one of the most important people in a girl’s life, her mom. Her mother has a specific anonymity toward her. Mom barely acknowledges her and when she does only uses her birth name. She feels abandoned by her mom and also feels like she is the one who abandoned her siblings when she left to pursue her happiness. She carries a lot of guilt around because of that. She also wants her mother’s approval and her love even to the point of allowing herself to be treated with hostility from her mother. This is the reason I think that Lydia is scared to hope.
It’s an internal struggle she fights with constantly and a person has to be very strong indeed to fight that and still have the strong, caring disposition that Lydia has. I liked Callum, but I didn’t love him. He was too perfect, too good to be true, the man didn’t make a single mistake and that rubbed me the wrong way for some reason.
Not my first T.E. Ridener book and it won’t be my last. I would recommend this book to ages 18+ due to violence and sexual situations.