|Patricia Gaffney: Circle of Three|
Torch (Paperback), ISBN 0-06-109836-1
After his death, she wants to do the right thing for her daughter Ruth, but can't summon the energy to accomplish her best intentions. Her small home-based business cannot pay the bills. She receives two job offers, one from a respected entrepreneur and the other from the only man she truly loved, Jess Deeping, once the wild boy, now a gentleman dairy farmer.
Ruth wants to see her mother emerge from her funk. She misses her father, but she also needs her mother. This entire experience positions her on the edge of girlhood and facing the unknowns of young adulthood. As her mother reawakens to face reality, but moves away from the old, familiar reliable "Mommy," Ruth confides to the one person -- Jess -- who treats her like a grown-up with dignity and respect.
Dana, Ruth's grandmother and Carrie's mother, takes her title of matriarch a little too seriously. Dana's iron will easily offends her family. By the same token Dana feels that the world misunderstands her, especially her daughter who seems to be always on the verge of making life mistakes. Determined and shrewd, Dana left her poor upbringing without looking back, selected her mate, and created a family. Over the years, and now as she approaches her seventieth birthday, Dana wants more, but she doesn't know how to make the first move.
She also wants to see her daughter happy and settled with a stable man, definitely not a man from the wrong side of the tracks, like Jess. Many years ago she had managed to thwart any long-term plans this young man had for Carrie. It takes a crisis (Ruth's flight following the revelation about her mother's and Jess's re-ignited relationship) for the cycle of forgiveness, rebirth and repentance to begin among these three women.
Gaffney transitioned from historical romance to women's fiction first with Saving Graces and now, Circle of Three. Her insightful voice and poignant style carry a satisfying quench for those who thirst for for a good book. Each woman in this story tells her story with such clarity, they cannot help but garner sympathy or empathy for their fears and secret wishes. Gaffney uses the circle and all of its symbolism to shape the unveiling of the interconnected relationships, sifting through past memories to answer questions in the present and for guidance to face the future.
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