Michael Solomon’s latest novel, Under The Divi Tree: True Love Needs No Reason, is an engaging tale that weaves together a love story with a medical mystery.
Matthew Crane is a successful businessman and a former Police Detective who is married to his college sweetheart, Carol. They both have it all: a loving marriage, financial security, and high-flying careers. When Matthew retires, he plans a surprise vacation for Carol to show his love and appreciation for her. However, before Matthew can take Carol on the trip, he falls mysteriously ill. He appears to suffer from a sleep disorder that baffles doctors. His disorder causes him to fall into a deep sleep without affecting his vitals. All doctors can do is make him comfortable and run tests to find out why he is sleeping.
Matthew’s illness spurs Carol into action, and she devotes all of her time to researching it to find a cure. Through her tireless research, she locates Dr. Shah, a doctor in India who may hold the key to curing Matthew’s illness. Through this doctor, she finds out that Matthew is the only person who can save himself from this mystery illness. He needs to use his dreams to wake himself up from his deep sleep state. The doctor informs Carol that time has slowed down for Matthew. As long as he is in his meditative sleep state, he will no longer age, and his nails and hair will stop growing. Carol’s tough exterior and no-nonsense personality lead her to push his medical team to seek out Dr. Shah for advice.
The book makes clear that Carol and Matthew share an unbreakable bond. The novel traces how they first met in college to the events leading up to his hospitalization. Their intimacy and romance grows in strength with simple gestures like a ride home from school or a kind gesture. The book’s perspective shifts between Carol and Matthew at the right moments. These shifts in the story show Carol’s frantic obsession with finding a cure while Matthew is in his dream state and making sense of his dreams. Over time, friends visit less and less, leaving Carol largely alone to care for her husband and search for clues to his recovery. She is emotionally and physically drained from her hospital visits and keeping up with her career.
At first, the plot and pace are slow as the story outlines Matthew’s daily routine until his hospitalization. His actions are typical for someone who’s retired. After Matthew is admitted to the hospital, the story’s pacing picks up, and we are treated to unexpected surprises. The book’s emphasis on true love needing no reason means we get the perfect fairytale ending. After months apart, we are happy to learn that Matthew and Carol’s love does not diminish but is strengthened through this ordeal. The book has a satisfying ending with the medical mystery resolved and Matthew reuniting with Carol.
Overall, Under the Divi Tree: True Love Needs No Reason is a touching story that skilfully intertwines romance with mystery.