In Toni Jordan's Addition, we meet Grace Vandenburg, who likes to count. No, Grace loves to count. She's loved to count ever since she was a little girl. On her nightstand she keeps the Cuisenaire rods from her childhood and a framed picture of her hero, Nikola Tesla, for whom she has much affection. Grace knows how many paces it takes her to get from her apartment to her favorite cafe, or to the grocery. Her apartment is perfectly ordered. She has daily routines that start at 5:55 a.m., when it's time to get out of bed. Every day she has hot cocoa and orange cake at the cafe and every night she has chicken and vegetables for supper. On Sunday, her mother calls at 8:00 p.m. and her sister Jill calls at 8:20 p.m. So when she meets Seamus O'Reilly, where does he fit into her routines? Seamus makes Grace very happy and she wants to make him happy. On his suggestion, she enters therapy for her obsessive counting and begins taking prescribed medication. With therapy and medication come a new set of problems for Grace and Seamus. Can Grace give up counting and still be her true self? Will she still be the woman Seamus so loved and wanted to help?
I'm already looking forward to reading whatever Toni Jordan decides to write next. She has done something fairly unique with Addition. It is a romance in a way, but in another way it's a real look at identity and what it means to be well. The story is told in the first person, from Grace's perspective, with much wit. So, the book's tone changes when Grace enters therapy, taking you deeper into her experience. Grace is the star of the story, but the supporting cast of characters are fun too. Seamus is both loving and intuitive to Grace's needs, or at least he tries to be. Her niece Hilly (a.k.a. Larry), though a child, is the one who often knows Grace best. The germaphobics in Grace's therapy group are an interesting bunch. Nikola Tesla was as much a part of the story as any of the other characters; Grace liked to compare situations in her life to situations in her dear Nikola's life.
In the acknowledgements, the author gives credit to two books for information on Nikola Tesla. If you're interested, both are available from the EVPL: Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney & Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla by Marc J. Seifer.
I'll confess it was the bright, pretty cover that first attracted me to Addition, but had it not caught my eye, I would have really missed out.
click here for Toni Jordan's website