|Paula Detmer Riggs: Never Walk Alone|
Onyx (Paperback), ISBN 0-451-41083-1
At age 17, Michael Sullivan crashed his truck into a school bus, killing two children and the driver. Hated by the townsfolk and with no support from his father, Mick served four years in prison. Then he turned his back on Osuma, Washington, vowing never to return to his hometown.
Mick works hard to build his own company into a respected trucking and freight hauling line. After a flood devastates Osuma, his adopted father, J.T., must sell off the family orchard business. Seeing the value of the warehouse, Mick -- now going by Rhys Hazard -- buys the land and plans to open a trucking warehouse there. An unfortunate car accident puts the warehouse's executive in the hospital, forcing Rhys to face his past and return to town.
Brina Sullivan slaves over her beloved bed and breakfast while trying to raise two children. Her ex-husband, John (Mick's brother by adoption), offers no help and spends most of his time with his trophy bimbo fiancée. Brina begs John to spend time with their children, Marcy and Jay, and tries to bully him for the perpetually late child support. So when North Star Trucking pays up front for living quarters for their executives, she welcomes the business, only to find that the owner used to be the boy responsible for her brother's death.
Despite her initial dislike of Rhys, Brina finds herself deeply attracted to him. Marcy latches on to Uncle Rhys, drawing him into the family. But John tries to disrupt everything. He still hates Rhys from their childhood, even though their mother clearly favored her "real" son, John, over the adopted gutter trash. John engages in a shady deal, trying to frame Rhys and put him back in prison while making John rich.
Paula Detmer Riggs weaves a wonderfully complex tale. All of the characters contain faults and foibles right along with their good qualities -- Brina's body image issues and Rhys' disability stemming from the wreck among them. But the side stories really bring the tale to life -- J.T.'s wooing of a past love, Jay's struggle to earn the love of his father, an alcoholic mechanic's redemption, a romance between Rhys' driver and one of Brina's permanent residents. It all comes together in a compelling read, full of love, humor, mystery and action.
here to share your