Sunny Cooper still hasnít quite gotten over her horrible childhood. Along with her brother and sister, she was raised in a commune. Her mother never taught them the basic principles of social life Ė in school, Sunny was always the ďsmelly kidĒ because she was never informed about the necessity of showering on a regular basis. She hated the commune and her mother, especially after a tragic accident that changed Sunnyís life forever. As soon as she graduated from high school, Sunny left the commune and never looked back.
Now, years later, Sunny is in a relationship with Michael, who has been acting strangely. When Sunny gets the news that Michael has been killed in a car accident, sheís left to settle his affairs. Looking through the information he left behind, she finds inconsistencies, strange things that donít seem to add up. Sunny realizes that she is in over her head and turns back to her roots in order to cope with whatís going on around her.
The Laws of Harmony is a heartwarming read about a broken woman who doesnít even know how to begin to heal when the novel starts, so consumed by resentment at her childhood that she doesnít know how to move forward with her life. Itís really rewarding to follow Sunny and watch her come to terms with her past. Her mother says to her at one point in the novel, ďThe world is going to cut you only so much slack because you think you had a lousy childhood.Ē Itís a thought-provoking statement that underscores the message of this novel Ė letting go of past hurts and moving forward in your life.
The mystery behind Michaelís strange behavior and death, while interesting, isnít really a central plot in The Laws of Harmony. Itís enough to hook the reader and keep them engaged at the beginning of the novel, but itís much more of a catalyst for a change in Sunnyís life. This novel is about her change and growth, rather than Michaelís affairs.
The open-ended conclusion of The Laws of Harmony doesnít provide much closure. Itís clear that this might be because there is a sequel in the works, which would be wonderful. Sunny is a well-written, engaging character, and the town of Harmony is a great place with a lot of fun characters. However, it would have been nice to have a little more finality at the end of the novel. Itís too ambiguous to be satisfying, even with the knowledge that another book about Sunny is probably coming.
Judith Ryan Hendricksí writing style flows naturally, making this novel light and easy to read. The Laws of Harmony is fun and rewarding for fans of womenís fiction, who will love getting to know Sunny and the other quirky characters living in Harmony.