Mira, Jan 2004, 24.95, 304 pp.
Years ago Seattle based philanthropist Ian Collier helps Kathleen Cahill by paying for her to attend college and medical school. Now a doctor, Kathleen wants a child and though friends Ian would like to sire her kid because years ago he lost the only child he ever had. Kathleen accepts his kind offer as she has great respect for Ian. He also asks her to marry him so their child can be raised with two parents though he expects their relationship to remain friendly and platonic. She loves his loyalty, but tells him it is unnecessary. He says he cares for her too much so he must help her any way he can, but Ian dies not long afterward.
As he nears forty, wanderer Sam Collier settles down near Medford, Oregon buying Sarah's orchard, a place where apples grow. When he learns that the man who sired him, but deserted him over three decades ago, died, Sam goes to Seattle to settle the estate. Sam hates Ian and wants to detest Kathleen, but instead falls in love with her. As she reciprocates his feelings, she informs him that she is pregnant, but the father could be his father not him.
This is an engaging family drama that borders on the rim of soap opera, but Katherine Stone keeps her cast consistent and loaded with doubts and that make for a deep character study. Ms. Stone furbishes a deep look at fractured relationships in which love is not enough to heal childhood wounds that remain bleeding as adults. Fans of contemporary tales starring protagonists whose respective hearts of stones are chipped away will want to read this compelling novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner