Flight Lessons - Patricia Gaffney This book provides insights into family relationships which at times are touching but at other times are hard to imagine. It was easy to dislike Anna from the beginning because of the way she distanced herself from her once beloved aunt and her attitude became more and more distasteful as the book proceeded. It begins with Anna discovering her boyfriend in bed with her boss! As she sits shivering under covers because there is no heat in the apartment, she gets a phone call from her Aunt Iris who is the only contact she has with her family after turning her back on them almost 20 years earlier. Aunt Iris tells her that her Aunt Rose is looking for someone to manage the restaurant which has been in the family for generations. This is the incentive Anna needed to return and begin mending her relationship with Aunt Rose. She seems to be heartless and downright mean at times and although she works hard to turn the struggling restaurant around and breathe some fresh air into its operation, she just has no sympathy for Aunt Rose which becomes annoying. There is also Aunt Carmen, the gruff old aunt with an attitude who is the chef; Vince who is Anna’s cousin and the bartender; Frankie who is hired to be the assistant chef and has her own share of problems; and you will meet all the other restaurant employees each with their own issues. All of the problems each character had made me wish that there was at least one person who was happy and well adjusted in this book! I suppose that Aunt Iris would be this person, but she only played a small role in the book as the family peacemaker. Meanwhile, Aunt Rose is dealing with the progressive illness of her long time boyfriend Theo, who was a waterman, traveler, fisherman, boat builder and woodcarver until a disabling illness makes it harder and harder for him to live alone. He is too hardheaded to stay with Rose or his stepson Mason and Anna’s return makes him very protective of Rose. I loved the way Theo was portrayed as a hard old man but then was terribly devoted to Rose, Mason, and even his old dog. When a fall makes it necessary for him to go into a nursing home, my heart was just breaking for the grumpy old man. Theo’s stepson Mason was a lawyer turned bird photographer after a tragic accident left him with phobias and panic attacks. He was devoted to birds, both their care and their photography, and when Aunt Rose suggested Mason to repair the roof on Anna’s house, an email correspondence ensued which was the beginning of their relationship. Anna was very close with the father of her cheating ex-boyfriend and when she flies back to New York for the funeral, Mason goes with her without revealing that he has a morbid fear of flying. Anna helps him battle his fear and a glimpse of Anna’s softer side emerges, but only for a moment. The death of Theo and a fire in the restaurant makes the ending easy to predict. When Anna finally “gets it” and forgives Aunt Rose, it was almost a let down because by this time I had tired of Anna’s whining and selfishness and I just wanted to shake her! For some reason, I kept feeling like I had read this book before. Whether I had really read it or it was just like so many other books of the same nature, I’m still not sure. There were several things about this book that I disliked, but the need to discover if all of the issues were resolved kept me reading! I found myself wishing for an epilogue at the end where everything was wrapped up in a neat little ‘happily ever after’ package!