Autumn Leaves
By Kim Atchue-Cusella
Feb 7, 2004 - 6:48:00 PM

Karen Matheson, a child psychologist and the head of Newfoundland dog rescue is a single mom to Katie. Karen feels like a failure when her daughter announces that she has enlisted in the Marines. To a nonviolent mother this is a shocking announcement. As she struggles to accept her daughter’s decision, she is faced with meeting the man that she secretly blames for prompting Katie in that direction.

Steve Songer needs help to keep his Am Staff dog. The city has classified his Am Staff as a boxer. The city is making him attend canine classes that his dog must pass to satisfy the city that he is not dangerous. The only person who teaches this class is Karen. Steve knows Karen’s feelings about him. He has been teaching Katie boxing for the past year to get her in shape in order to enlist in the Marines.


After Katie leaves for boot camp, Steve and Karen are thrown together with the canine class. Steve is an ex-marine, who knows what Katie is going through in boot camp, so Karen comes to rely on him to help her learn what to expect. Despite their differences the attraction is mutual, but can they overcome their differences and give in to the spark?


Annie Smith writes a poignant story of a mother having to let her daughter grow up and her spread her wings. She is terrified for her and allows Steve to help her understand her feelings, but not without some resistance. I loved the way this story played out, and the characters slowly fell in love after getting to know each other. The dogs in the story add to the gentleness of the characters.


I would recommend reading AUTUMN LEAVES on a cool night while under the blankets to savor the story through. AUTUMN LEAVES is a great comfort read, it is refreshing to have a love story with a plot that is true to life.

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