When Janet O’Grady’s wheeler-dealer husband Marty dies in a car crash, she learns that he’s put everything they own under ownership of the company he and his brother own. Hoping to find a bank account with funds she can access, she discovers evidence that he’s been shifting company funds into an offshore account. Marty’s brother soon learns that millions of dollars are missing from the company’s account and he’s sure she’s been party to this deception. He wants his money and she must know where it is.
Leaving almost everything behind, Janet sneaks away in the wee hours with her six-year-old twin boys, running scared, headed for her parents’ home in Washington. She’s hoping they’ll forgive the past, take her in and give her shelter until she can get on her feet again. En route she needs help from a kind stranger.
Her parents think she must be a rich widow now — and she doesn’t tell them the truth, fearing her father’s health is too precarious for such a shock. Her sister Christa”s busy planning her wedding to banker Grant Brooks — who turns out to be the kind stranger who paid for Janet’s gas a few hours before.
Grant, a generous man with an inkling about Janet’s true financial state, offers to let her live in his grandfather’s house in exchange for cleaning it out — his grandparent saved EVERYTHING — so he can sell it. Janet appreciates working with Grant to clean up the place and Janet’s boys, starved for a father’s attention, just love him. She’d like to, too — but Grant’s taken. She’s not about to snitch her sister’s beau.
There are so many things I like about this book! It’s a clean story and well written. The main characters are mostly mature, considerate people; the ones who profess to be Christians do try to practice patience and kindness. The plot is interesting, believable, dramatic in places but not a high suspense. The only thing I couldn’t quite see was Grant as a banker — or a successful banker with Grant’s easy-going nature. He’s personable and conscientious but would a thirty-four-year-old professional money manager let himself drift into an engagement with a woman who loved to spend his money?
That aside, overall, this is an upbeat, enjoyable read — and written by one of the ladies in our writers friendship circle. 🙂
While this is The Evergreen Series, named for the town, each of the six novels is a stand-alone. Here are #2 and #3, which I haven’t read yet:
If you want a nice relaxing, interesting read over the holidays — or in January when a blizzard sweeps down and you’re snowed in, check out The Christmas Sweater: A Short Story for Christmas, by Janice L Dick
Jeanne, recently widowed, is dreading her first Christmas alone, but tends to cocoon herself in her grief. Until an old school friend moves back to town — right next door. And she shows up frequently just to chat. Using their past friendship and a good bit of prodding, Debbie gets Jeanne out of those old sweats she’s been dragging around the house in, out of feeling sorry for herself, and back into life.
While Debbie’s friendship proves invaluable to Jeanne, there comes a time when Debbie has to draw support from Jeanne’s friendship as she faces her own trials. It is a great short story about how friends can help and encourage one another.
This room should be empty.
It shouldn't be bulging with bits of you,
the evidence of our life together, scattered
on every flat surface. Your notebook
your pens, your jottings on the calendar.
It shouldn't still hold all the colours of us.
That mahogany desk you wanted so bad;
I remember your satisfied smile
when the auctioneer shouted "Sold
to number 68, there in the blue jacket."
I remember how we had to abandon
our old chest of drawers in the garage
to fit your new purchase in its place.
This empty room should be silent now;
it shouldn't still ring with the sound of us,
like this silly clock I was so fond of, even if
it chirped all hours and never did
keep proper time, not even after
two pricey trips to the clock-maker.
I can still hear your exasperated sighs
as you swathed it in a blanket every night.
This empty room will never be vacant;
when together we chose that wallpaper
and together we hung it, laughing all the while,
not quite matching the patterns.
"Gives the room character," you said.
And I pretended to like that idea.
It still rings with our long discussions
the arguments, the admissions, the apologies.
Bits of your little hobbies wave at me
like little flags; the trinkets on your desk
testify of your tastes, your skills, your plans.
Even the Post-its you stuck on the mirror
remind me how you lived – really lived – here,
how you once filled every room.
Now each thing in its way laments your absence
and the emptiness of this room.