Her parents quickly warm to her son, Benjy, as she had hoped. But it soon becomes apparent that her presence inflicts more pain on them as they remember what she's cost them. Should she leave Benjy here, where he'll have all his material needs met and be surrounded by love? It might kill her to give him up, but should she do it for his own good?
Hungarian-born Sandor Wolfe comes to the U.S. with a strong vision of the future and the will to remake himself in his father's country. He led a life of privation and hardship before emigrating to the U.S. Here he forges a friendship with Cleo Channing, the divorced owner of a gift shop who hires him as a handyman and allows him to live in her storage room until he gets on his feet.
Everything in Sandor's life is going according to plan. Until the day that Cleo's daughter, Ria, comes to town. He wishes she'd leave her mother alone. She's already cost her everything, and her return is a complication he wishes he could shield Cleo from. But Ria's not leaving. Soon he finds himself drawn to the wounded woman and fighting the feeling that he's betraying Cleo if he cares for Ria. Beyond the issue of loyalty, he doesn't want to like Ria-she's not scheduled into his future. But sometimes the best things in life are unplanned. Can he help her to see her own value and heal her soul? She and Benjy just might fill the empty space within him, if he can get her to trust him.
This is part two of Ms. Brashear's two-book series, Mother and Child Reunion. COMING HOME told the story from Cleo's perspective, and FORGIVENESS is from Ria's. I found this book just as insightful and emotional as the first. The pain this family has suffered is nearly unbearable, and the story takes the reader along on Ria's journey of personal healing.
I applaud Ms. Brashear on this series, both for its depth and the smooth clarity of her prose. She's succeeded in giving each character a unique voice, apart from her own voice as an author. Ria is a fascinating individual, alternately striking out and seeking approval and acceptance. Sandor's reliability is a great contrast for her, both as a character and a potential lover.
I wish Ms. Brashear every success with the release of her single title, MERCY, coming May 2005.