Spring should bring renewal, but Maura McKnight-Parker cannot escape the past. Still reeling from the loss of one daughter, the former free spirit is thrown for a loop by the return of her older daughter, Sage, and the reappearance of her first love, Sage’s father. Jackson Lange never knew his daughter—never even knew that he’d left the love of his life pregnant when he fled their small town—but he has never forgotten Maura.Now they are all back, but Sage has her own secret, one that will test the fragile bonds of a reunited family. Thrown together by circumstances and dedicated to those they love, Maura and Jackson must learn to move forward and let go of the mistakes of their past for the bright future that awaits them and their friends in Hope’s Crossing.
This third book in the Hope’s Crossing Trilogy caps off the experiences of three women, all of whom have experienced some of life’s worst and who must find a way to keep on keeping on. Maura is a woman of experience, single mother at 17, divorced from a rock star, grieving the loss of their child due to a drunk driving accident, and now facing the father of her first daughter, a man who she loved deeply and completely and who chose to walk away from her, from a father he hated, from a community who represented everything he resented. Now a world-class, world-reknown architect, Jackson Lange discovers he has a daughter who is fully grown and whose smile and laughing spirit captivates him almost from the start, but does little to ameliorate the deep anger and disappointment at not been given the precious years with his daughter.
This novel is filled to the brim with pain, but before you write it off as a “downer,” it is also balanced with characters who are kind and generous because they have come through their own deep waters of grief and disappointment and become better for them, and with the dynamic between a mother and daughter who are working very hard to survive the loss of a daughter and sister. There is also a pervasive sense of community that brightens and enlivens the scenes in this book, and there are a couple of background characters who manage to find redemption and forgiveness along the way. So in spite of lots that is sad and deeply moving, there is a balance that keeps it possible for the reader to experience the story without being totally bummed out. A number of the characters who form Maura’s friendship circle are carryovers from the first two books so this is something of a continuing story for them as well. (I think that’s the real beauty of series anyway.) And this is also the story of a young woman, Maura’s daughter, whose life is going through some pivotal changes and whose personal crisis forms the linchpin for other relationships that are important to the story.
All in all, this is a wonderfully entertaining book and one I am delighted to have experienced. Laurel Falls, the site mentioned in the story’s title, was critical to Maura and Jackson’s early love story and continues to be important to them as they are re-united. It is also a focal point for the entire community at one point or another. This is the kind of love story that causes the reader to heave a deep sigh of satisfaction at the end. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.