Once in a while you pick up a book, and find you are in the company of friends from the very first word. It's comfortable, it's familiar, it just fits--like your favorite pair of jeans. I'm going to start with my ending first: Five Stars, Two Thumbs UP, and a favorite bakery pastry.
Jolene Keim was a week away from getting married when her parents drown in a freak accident. In the midst of her grief, she decides to keep her brothers and sisters together and to become their guardian. Her fiance cannot fathom taking care of that many children already and they break up.
Now most of her siblings are grown, she has managed to hold the family together and only has her brother, Ray, and her sister, Hope, still at home. Her landlord, Lester, has helped her pay her rent by allowing her to cook and clean for him occasionally. When Lester's nephew takes on thirty plus feral horses to tame and train for the Humane Society, Lester allows him to bring the horses to his place, which was once a functioning horse farm. Andy, the nephew, and his son Tobias hire a driver to help him bring the horses to Lester's place and Jolene is hired to feed the people who are coming to help Andy.
Andy and Jolene both have their secrets: Andy is a grass-widower and Jolene likes to paint pictures. Cindy Woodsmall does an excellent job explaining what a grass-widower is, but this is not the first time I had encountered the term. Years ago, my dad was talking about my mom's oldest sister who had been abandoned by her husband when her son was two years old. He said, "She was a grass-widow," and whomever he was talking to asked what he meant. Daddy explained it this way, to lose your spouse to death makes you a sod-widow(er), and to put your spouse "out to pasture" makes you a grass-widow(er). Cindy was a bit more diplomatic than my dad in explaining the concept. Andy and Tobias had been abandoned by Andy's wife Eva, who was mentally ill. Andy was not free to marry, and Jolene was just feeling ready to engage in a relationship again.
Like I said, this book is like sitting down with a favorite friend and having a heart to heart conversation. Cindy's character development is so full and complete without detracting from the storyline that sitting down with this book is like sitting down at your favorite kaffee klatsch.
WaterBrook Press supplied this book for my reading pleasure in exchange for my honest review. These opinions are mine alone and no compensation was offered or received.