“But life isn’t always about what we want, is it?”

Told in multiple viewpoints, this book offers the story of Sarah who travels to a town in New York called Jonah to claim her inheritance. Her estranged father has died. She is hoping to go claim what is hers and get out without interfacing with anyone. She had not planned upon the inhabitants of Jonah being her link to her dad. She discovers that she must stay in Jonah for six months in order to gain her inheritance. “As part of the requirements set out in the trust your father established for you, you must live here, in Jonah, for at least six months. If you don’t you don’t get the money.” She finds herself having to rethink her own perception of her father.

The story flows and you find yourself caring for these inhabitants. There is Doc, who cares for the people and has a secret. There is the town preacher, Jack, who is also the love interest. He also is running away from something. We are also presented with Beth, the sister of the preacher, who has been scarred in a fire.

Sarah arrives in Jonah to find that everyone there knows her since they knew her dad. What is the connection? All Sarah knows is that her father has served time for murder and once out he had settled in Jonah. Will she be able to run from her past? Does she need to?

The theme is the interconnectiveness of people. It has been said that no man is an island. As you read this story you start to appreciate that fact.

At the beginning the only thing Sarah cares for is her violin and maybe a dog. As the story goes on Sarah finds herself caring about the people after Doc hires her to look in on his patients and tend to their needs. A few of them grow on her. There is Zuriel, the blind woman, who needs to be read to. There is Memory, who is caring for her invalid son, Robert, who is brain damaged. She needs companionship. There is Maggie, the mother of Jack and Beth who is protective of her children. “Maggie had known it was Luke Petersen’s daughter as soon as the sleep cleared her head. It wasn’t so much how she looked, with hair the color of dried apricots and huge dark eyes but the way Sarah looked at her.” The only inn in Jonah, the inn that Sarah comes to at the start of the book, is run by Maggie.

The characters grow on you. The story is gripping and believable. This is Parrish’s debut novel. She shows promise.

She teaches literature and writing to high school students. Her awards have been from the Associate Press in the area of journalism. Her residence is near Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The book can be purchased at a local bookstore or on line from www.bethanyhouse.com.

Tell me what it is you have been reading lately. Drop me a line at smdp_review@yahoo.com and let me know.

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