Sala's I'LL STAND BY YOU had a lot of complex characters that what you see isn't always what you get. While Dori and Johnny lived in the same town they had very different lives although they both had patchwork families. It was heartbreaking to hear of their plights even as we get to know them more deeply. Johnny's brothers, Beep and Marshall, were always on their best behavior and didn't want to cause any trouble. He was their sole provider and both mother and father to them and he took such good care of them even though he was only twenty. Dori, a single unwed mother, who lived with her grandfather initially until bad luck hit again, was a good mother to her baby, Luther Joe, always putting his needs first. While both were hard workers and forces to reckon with they were stronger when together and each filled a void in the other's life. Some of the townspeople were good souls and couldn't do enough to help one or the other of them. Some were outright cruel even when in positions of authority like the school principal and the DCF worker. When the town rallies around them over and over again neither knows what to think. There was laughter, tears, heartache, pain, sorrow, fear, anger, caring, charity, goodness and love. There were some twists and turns to the storyline but it flowed smoothly and kept me turning the pages long past my bedtime since I didn't want to put it down and always wanted to see what came next. There were several happy moments and lots of surprises along the way which always seemed to solidify Dori and Johnny's plans for all of them. There was some closure but several loose ends that I'm hoping means there will be additional connected books so I can find out more.
Sala is a new to me author and I will be adding some of her other books to my always growing TBR pile! I need to read the first book set in Blessings, CURL UP AND DYE, and hope there are more connected stories to come especially with the cliffhanger ending that we were just handed that left me wanting more!