Warner, Jun 2004, 5.99, 384 pp.
Just north of Pittsburgh, thirty year old schoolteacher Meara O'Rourke receives a phone call from a Laurel Mountain hospital stating that her mom was near death from a car accident. Meara informs the caller that her mom died a month ago after suffering from a long term illness. When the hospital administrator mentions Sheila Black, Meara realizes that the woman in the trauma center is her biological mother, whom she met once.
She arrives at the hospital where her mother warns her that Rosemary died before Sheila also passes away. Attorney David Falcon informs Meara that Sheila was married to Mitchell Black who died in the crash and that Rosemary was Mitchell's deceased first wife. She also learns that she inherited part ownership of an estate including the nineteenth century Sheepsworth Inn. Mitchell's angry son Fletcher displays hostility towards Meara. He wants her to leave and will buy her out. Instead a stubborn Meara who does not want any part of the estate refuses to sell because she believes he plans to destroy this pristine land. Meara learns more about her biological mother and Mitchell to the point that she loves him, but he remains nasty towards her, making her wonder if its time to leave while her heart still beats.
This is a romantic with some suspense that occurs late in the novel. For the most part, the tale is more of a character study as Meara tries to understand her mother and Fletcher, which in turn enables the audience to better understand the lead female protagonist.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner