Zee is a successful Boston psychologist, engaged to an appropriate man, but who she does not love. Her father, Finch, a Hawthorne scholar in Salem, MA -- he lives next to the House of Seven Gables -- has thrown out his partner of 20+ years, who helped to raise Zee, her father's Parkinson's is very serious. Her mother, suffering from bipolar disorder killed herself when Zee was 12. One of Zee's patients, also suffering from bipolar disorder has just commited suicide.
Zee moves back to Salem to take care of her father and think about her life, make decisions based on what she wants. The Salem witch is Ann, a witch who lives in the Salem of the present and has a shop at Derby Street and was a friend of Maureen's and now Zee's. (She also inherited Towner's lace, but this book is no sequel to The Lace Reader
I quite liked this book, its over-reliance on coincidence was nearly grating, but I loved the characters, and the setting that is as crucial as a key character. And I am thrilled my family visited Salem last summer, so I get to visit that quirky small city all over again in the pages of this book.
"No one understood the concept of "if only" better than Zee. She lived it every day, though she didn't have to search to find the elusive thing. She thought she knew what her mother had wanted that day so many years ago, what might have helped lift her out of her depression. It was a book of Yeats's poetry given to Maureen by Finch on their wedding day, and it was one of her mother's treasures. Zee's "if only" had worked in reverse. If only she hadn't gotten her mother what she wanted that day, if only she hadn't left her alone, Zee might have been able to save her."