Jess Cooper lost her husband on 9/11. Just not in the way she thought.
On September 11, 2001, Brett Cooper checks into a flight to go on an interview for a job he doesn’t want, in a city where he doesn’t want to live. All to make his wife happy. He loves her, but he’s not happy in his marriage. Or in his body, really. As boarding begins, Brett panics and gives his ticket away. When his plane strikes the World Trade Center, he realizes that he's been given a second chance to live the life he always wanted.
Brett disappears into the chaos, hoping to figure out who he’s meant to be. With help from some new friends, Brett begins to transition into Christa. A tragedy sends Christa further north to Canada, where she builds a new life. For eighteen years, Christa’s life is peaceful and easy until she runs into Jess. Jess used her husband's life insurance to go to medical school. When she discovers that she's actually not a widow, it throws her entire future into question. Making matters more complicated is the discovery that all of the love Jess held for her spouse is alive and well. Christa and Jess must figure out what the future holds for them—if Christa has a future at all, with the reemergence of the missing Canadian woman whose identity Christa “borrowed”.
Can love conquer all, or is it sometimes better to let go?
The emotions run the gamut in Finding Tranquility, and I felt every single one of them. At any given point, I was as likely to want to hug one of these characters as I was to want to shake the daylights out of them, Brett/Christa in particular. The thing is Brett didn't always make the wisest choices before or after becoming Christa, but the author tells the story in a way that those actions are understandable to some extent. Some more than others, but even when I disagreed, I still found the character likable. I really can't speak about the authenticity of the transgender representation here because I have no direct experience, but I am at an age where I can look back and see just how far we've come in terms of acceptance, and even how far we still need to go, and I will say that it feels like the author did her homework. A lot of this story is about Brett's journey to becoming Christa, but the big story here is, as the title claims, a love story. It's about loving the person regardless of gender and finding your happy in a world that isn't always so accepting. Gender and sexual preference aside, Finding Tranquility is a moving story about love, loss, acceptance, and forgiveness.