This is a Christian romance about a troubled young woman fleeing a traumatic event.
Noelle is the daughter of a very wealthy lawyer, William St. Clair, in New York City recently engaged to a protégé of his, Michael Fallon, a man with hidden issues. Issues which send Noelle fleeing both him and her father as she believes that her father will support Michael as he has supported him throughout his adult life.
She’s smart enough to withdraw a stash of cash and runs by bus…any bus…ending up in the Rocky Mountain foothills where she takes a room at a horse ranch where the owner, Rick Spencer, takes in visitors during the summer to help pay the bills. He is also a deeply religious young man who takes his faith seriously. Despite his doubts, he feels that God is directing him to help Noelle and he allows her to rent a room in his home against his usual policy.
Rick’s brother, Morgan, is also staying on the ranch as he mulls over his next career move. Morgan is not one for sitting around when he could be pursuing fun, liquor, and women and Noelle is immediately in his sights.
Noelle’s traumas have shut down all normal social moves and it takes Rick, Morgan, and their family to begin to open her up again until trauma again visits her at the ranch and sends her reeling into a shutdown which she escapes by again running away. This time she is running from Rick.
Questioning his faith, Rick pours his all into the ranch as the months go by…
This story was very well done. I’m not too keen on all the Christian proselytizing but it is well-woven into the story. I do appreciate that it is not promoting any particular organized church, which is its saving grace (no pun intended). I think Heitzmann did a very nice job of explaining how belief in God is supposed to work. The best I’ve read on it so far…which, admittedly, isn’t much!
The dialog and interaction with the family was very good—made me think of my own sisters and what we’re all like when we get together! Lovely traditions. Deep-seated concerns and acceptance.
The cover is beautiful with its yellow-orange light surrounding the young woman’s head. I’m not sure whom the shadowy figure in the background is supposed to represent; he does feel benign as though he is waiting in the wings.
The title is very pertinent as it relates to what triggers Noelle’s terror and sets her on her path to Rick.