Mira, Jul 2003, 6.99, 408 pp.
Harris Henderson is in shock from the medical report that informs him that his beloved five-year-old daughter Marion suffers from the worst type of juvenile diabetes. Desperate he advertises for a caregiver, hoping to have someone apply to live in his isolated bird sanctuary and rehabilitation center in the wilderness in the South Carolina Low Country. However, he feels lucky when a registered pediatric nurse answers his ad. Weary Ella Majors feels burned out helplessly watching children die after a decade in the ER; she feels the change from Vermont to Carolina will rejuvenate her. The two agree on a one-year contract after a one-month trial period.
Harris soon finds himself surrounded by two-legged prey. Besides his new employee, a teen is sentenced to giving community time at the center for shooting a bird. Marian's druggie mother arrives causing havoc for one all. However, amidst these intruders, Harris and Ella fall in love even while the nurse also loves her patient.
This strong contemporary romance stays above the soap opera level that the plot could have become because the big three members of the cast seems very real as they reach out to one another. The birds and their home provide an atypical background so that the audience will appreciate the way Mary Alice Monroe spins it into the tale. The teen enables the reader to see how much the adults care, but the mother is too pathetic too matter except in adding unnecessary tension to a powerful human drama.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner