Multinomah, April 2003, 11.99, 320 pp.
Baxter is a very small town where everybody knows everyone else, a place where a stranger sticks out immediately. When eighteen-year-old, Angie Marks arrives in town, people start whispering about the stud in her nose, the very visible tattoos and the black nail polish. Many people think she is dangerous but the town millionaire Patrick Bailey see beyond appearances and hire her to be his housekeeper. He ignores the warnings of his daughter and his grandson's new wife, even when she disappears and is suspected to be with murder suspect Tully Hollister.
He believes that there is a rational reason why Angie is gone and his faith in her remains steadfast. When Tully and Angie are finally found, the town learns Tully kidnapped Angie but didn't harm her. He thought she had information that would exonerate him on the murder charge. Patrick takes her back and learns the real reason she came to Baxter and then proceeds to do everything in his power to see that she gets what she needs.
Patrick is a very wise and astute character who sees beyond surface appearances. Angie is a young woman who desperately needs someone to love her for herself and Patrick does just that because he sees the goodness and gentleness within her. He goes out of his way to show his acceptance of her and she in turn shows her devotion to him by being the best worker he ever employed. Kathy Herman has written an inspiring tale that isn't preachy yet gets her message across.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner