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Audra Valentine Wheyton has built a beautiful life with her husband and daughter thousands of miles away from the hometown that vilified her. Her husband, Christian, and their daughter, Kara, make biannual trips to Holly Springs, New York to visit his family while she stays behind and immerses herself in writing for the daytime soap, On Eden Street. Their trip always causes Audra a great deal of anxiety and this time is no different – especially when Christian unexpectedly dies and Audra, along with her daughter, has to travel to Holly Springs for the funeral. She’s forced to face her own fears, the community’s disdain and the revelation that all the secrets she’s carefully guarded are about to crumble down around her.
Pediatric neurosurgeon Jack Wheyton hasn’t seen Audra since she eloped with his brother and moved to California nine years ago. He was hurt by her betrayal and still doesn’t know why she up and married Christian when she was still technically dating him. Years have passed and he’s on the verge of becoming engaged when the unthinkable happens and Christian dies. Now Audra’s back in Holly Springs and his feelings for her are as strong as ever, but circumstances aren’t ideal for them to be reconnecting on a personal level – or maybe that’s exactly what they need.
Audra’s avoided returning to Holly Springs for good reason – not only does the whole town regard her as some sort of harlot who stole Christian away but there are other deep secrets she’d prefer not become public knowledge. Christian’s untimely death is devastating but it forces Audra to return to Holly Springs and confront her own demons. What she doesn’t expect is the emotional impact seeing Jack again will bring – or how intertwined their lives are about to become. Audra’s daughter, Kara, is extremely ill and Jack is one of the few doctors in the United States capable of dealing with her sort of situation. Any hope Audra had of escaping Holly Springs with all her secrets intact are becoming an impossibility, but sometimes there’s healing in revealing the truth – even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
PULLING HOME by Mary Campisi packs quite an emotional wallop almost from the very first page. Actually I knew this story was going to touch my heart after reading the dedication which only cemented my need to read more. Ms. Campisi does an amazing job bringing all the characters throughout this story to life, even Jack who’s only in the story for short period of time carries a presence that can be felt right to the very end. I have to confess I really enjoyed delving into Audra’s background and learning about everything that transpired to drive her away from Holly Springs, but like any small close-knit community there’s a lot that’s pulling just as hard to bring her back home. PULLING HOME’s plot is full of twists and turns, some startling surprises, a few reality checks and a whole lot of soul searching. This is the sort of storyline that can make you smile and restore your faith in happily-ever-afters.
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