The genesis of The Remedy for Love is a meeting of unlikely souls, one a
good Samaritan, the other a prickly stranger. That encounter explores the defenses we construct to protect ourselves from the world and choices that are so psychologically tangled that it is nearly impossible to establish a human connection, even in the most extreme circumstances. Small-city lawyer Eric, estranged from his wife, Alison, but still hopeful for their monthly feint toward reconciliatory rendezvous, purchases supplies for an elegant dinner as “the storm of the century” threatens to engulf the East Coast—Maine in particular. When a woman in line at the supermarket has trouble paying for her groceries, Eric makes a gesture to pay, only to be rebuffed. Dressed in many layers of clothing and appearing chronically unkempt, the woman, trudging along the road when Eric offers a ride, begrudgingly accepts.
Buoyed by his hopeful plans for dinner that night with Alison, Eric is in a generous mood, struggling along road with the stranger to a remote cabin with her groceries. Reluctantly she tells Eric her name: Danielle. While the cabin where she is nesting is sturdily built near the rushing Woodchurch River, there is little wood or water to survive the coming blizzard and only a woodstove to keep her warm, no electricity currently in the home of a former professor. Put off by Danielle’s paranoia and mistrust, Eric does what he can before making his way back to his vehicle, only to find that it has been towed from the parking lot of a local veterinarian.
Returning to the cabin, Eric begs for shelter at least until the morning, when the storm will hopefully abate, making himself useful, staying out of his truculent hostess’s way. But no amount of good will or charm can thaw the crusty exterior of a woman who sees him as a threat to her security, privacy and safety. Quite another “storm of the century” plays out inside the walls of the cabin as Eric attempts to forge a friendship with an almost feral creature whose first instinct is to cast him into the wilderness.
Roorbach orchestrates a fine dance between unlikely characters exploring the insular fears and psychological complications as two relative strangers trying to survive an assault by nature that will ultimately become a life-and-death struggle. Eric is always more engaging, more relatable, the taciturn Danielle devilishly inaccessible and wounded. Their spouses—the emotionally abusive Alison and Danielle’s returning Afghan veteran husband—haunt the confined space where two painfully lonely souls search for common ground, even the early vestiges of affection, albeit at a distance.
This is a mating dance costumed in eccentricity, nature violently banging on the door, Danielle prone to howling in psychic pain while Eric reluctantly examines and ruminates over the deeply-buried denial inherent in his marriage. Survival is only possible through compromise and mutual effort. It is a love story forged on the edges of danger, two people stripped bare by past hurts and a need for validation, let alone comfort, an agonizing, exhausting and exhilarating journey from despair to hope, the remedy for love.