Life in the Panamanian jungle doesn’t let Peace Corps Volunteer, Emma, forget she’s single.
The villagers in Almagro worry about Emma living by herself. But between teaching English, the arrival of HIV testing, and monitoring a mysterious path by her house, loneliness isn’t on her mind. Nonetheless, she experiences moments that trigger thoughts of home—in particular, text messages she used to receive intended for a stranger named Jake.
When Emma discovers that Almagro has cell phone reception, she tracks down Jake’s friend via unexpected help from a villager. Meanwhile, Jake, a third-generation American with Panamanian roots, confronts his past and learns about Emma. After failing to get in contact with her, he heads to Panama.
Emma and Jake develop feelings for each other, but Maya, a villager who resents Emma, gets in the way. To complicate things, Jake has a history of leaving, and Maya holds a secret that affects all three of them.
Will Jake leave Almagro because of village conflict? Can Emma and Maya overcome their differences?
Messages to Jake is a novel about love and loss, secrets and trust, and the danger of assumptions. It showcases the beauty and struggles of living in a rural village, and the challenges of health care in a developing country.