Matt King's wife is in a coma from a boating accident. Suddenly, he is the one responsible for their daughters, one ten, the other eighteen. Raising the daughters has been mainly the job of his wife. As he begins to learn about his daughters lives, something that he has only been invloved in tangentially, he learns that his wife's coma is irreversible.
Matt also is coping with the biggest business deal of his life. He is a descendant of Princess Kekipi of Hawaii and a missionary turned business man. And through that descendance, he and his cousins, have become major landholders. The cousins want to sell most of the land to the highest bidder. Matt is thinking that he would like a local businessman to win the deal so that the land would not be run by some major offsite corporation. Since Matt is the highest shareholder of all the cousins, he can make or break the deal.
Before she was in the boating accident that put her in the coma, Matt's wife, Joanie, rarely was involved in Matt's business plans. Usually, she just ignored it. So it seemed unlike her to want Matt to commit to a particular bidder for the land. Matt thought her involvement might be because the results would affect their daughters. That is until he learned that his wife was having an affair and how the deal would affect all of them.
This is a wonderfully written novel with some very funny and poignant moments. Matt King is a likable if removed Father who now knows he needs to step up his game. He loves his wife and his daughters and wants what is best for all of them. This is a quiet story with great sadness underneath that comes out in their lives, but there is also great hope for Matt and his family.
The Descendants has been made into a movie starring George Clooney. It is currently in limited release in Chicago with a wider release expected in December. Knowing that George Clooney is playing the father will not harm the reading of the book. I can only hope that the movie is as wonderful as this book.