Mira, Feb 2002, 6.50, 379 pp.
In Whisper Creek, Colorado, Deputy Sheriff Sam Canfield still mourns the death of his beloved wife even though three years have passed. Sam and his father mutually gave up on one another as the younger Canfield chose marriage and his dream of becoming a cop over his family. Now only law enforcement keeps him sane. To his chagrin, Sam learns that his estranged father Elijah Canfield has opened up a ministry in town.
Schoolteacher Mary McKinney grieves for her son who died seven years ago. Though her child's death ended her matrimonial state she has no regrets, though some guilt, on the collapse of her marriage. A loner struggling with nightmares, Mary feels Sam's pain and for the first time since her son died wants to help another person. She hopes to help Sam overcome his problems to include reconciling with his father after a fifteen-year estrangement, but never expected to find salvation in his arms.
JULY THUNDER is an endearing second chance at love through redemption tale that succeeds because readers will care deeply for Rachel Lee's prime players. The audience will pray that the “triangle” will lead to healthy relationships between Mary and Sam, and Sam and Elijah because the audience empathizes with the genuinely flawed individuals whose individual pasts weigh down each one of them. Though the story line has been told often, rarely is it as eloquent and delightful as Ms. Lee has done.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner