Jada Brooks returns to her hometown of Silver Springs, California following her father’s death so she can help out her mother. She left 13 years ago following a tragic event that left her family broken. Maddox Richardson was the love of her 17-year old life but that relationship ended when his younger brother Tobias accidentally shot her young brother Atticus, leaving him a paraplegic. Soon after, Jada discovered she was pregnant, further disappointing her parents who made her hide her condition and later leave town. Maddox doesn’t know he’s the father of 12-year old Maya and he’s just returned to run the new girl’s school at New Horizons Ranch. Tobias is scheduled to be released from prison soon, making this a reunion of epic proportions.
I normally get frustrated with secret baby/children storylines because it rarely feels justified to hide paternity, especially for more than a decade. However, these demands were placed by selfish parents on a 17-year old girl who was consumed by guilt because she took her brother to that party without permission and then turned up pregnant. Jada has spent all these years trying to atone for her errors in judgment with an unforgiving mother who has also created an emotionally crippled brother. Throughout the story, I just wanted someone to hold Susan Brooks accountable for the destruction she wielded upon her family by overlaying her bitterness on all of them. Her unforgiving spirit preventing her son from moving forward meaningfully and kept Jada from making better, more mature decisions regarding her child and herself. This is a cautionary tale, one that powerfully illustrates why forgiveness is so important. It may be hard to do but the alternative can leave you stuck in place and miserable.
The narrator, Veronica Worthington, is fast becoming a favorite as she managed the telling of this story very well, including the voices of the main characters. I flew through it because her pacing was just about perfect.
Novak has a talent for developing multidimensional characters and nuanced storylines. There were a lot of issues associated with revealing the truth so it wasn’t as clear cut as I’d initially believed. I was forced to put myself in Jada’s shoes and they didn’t fit so easily. It’s a simple situation with very complicated edges and I enjoyed every aspect of the story. Nothing is straightforward in this town that is filled with some seemingly very nice people who don’t always behave well (and those who do!). However, they’re familiar as we’ve seen them before in our own communities.
- Release Date: February 26, 2019
- Series: Silver Springs #5
- Narrator: Veronica Worthington
- Audio Length: 10 hours, 1 minute
- Publisher: Harlequin Audio
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(Thanks to Harlequin Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)