Mira, Apr 2004, 6.540, 384 pp.
In the Savannah area Joe Connally married pregnant Olivia “Livvie” Jones because he felt it was the right thing to do. However, when Olivia miscarried, both mutually agreed that they no longer had a reason to remain married and simply dissolved the contract. Joe moved on, but besides nursing the hurt of losing her child, Olivia's was heart broken, as she loved her spouse.
Fourteen years later, though the architect is Joe, interior designer, Olivia wins the bid to work the highly desirable restoration of Mallenegua, a massive stone mansion located on South Carolina barrier Mallen Island. With no child except perhaps the mansion between them, Joe should easily walk away again as his family led by his haughty mother Eleanore wants him to do. This time he realizes what he lost when he left and wants Olivia back as his wife forever. Olivia still loves Joe, but cannot trust him with her heart as he deserted her when she needed him most, but soon will need to have faith in him as danger mounts from a potentially lethal plot.
The story line focuses on Joe's efforts to prove that this time he will stay forever though his beloved doubts him and his mother leading their family wants him to avoid Olivia. A threat that leaves Olivia in danger seems unnecessary except for enabling Joe to have a chance at confirming he will be there for her.
This synopsis report prepared by Harriet Klausner