03 December 2011

Sweet Blessings (Love Inspired No. 295; McKaslin Clan, Series 2, Book 1)


This is the first book I've read by Jillian Hart, and after looking through my TBR pile I'm pleased to discover that I have another by her, in this same series. I enjoy most of the Love Inspired books, but some are much better than others. This is part of that some.

Amy McKaslin and her two sisters run a family diner, with plenty of cousins working for them or floating in and out of the story. One night, just before closing time, a loner, staying in the motel next door, comes in for a burger, and intervenes when the only other two customers in the diner get a little too rowdy.

Heath Murdock has been drifting from town to town and job to job, carrying an overwhelming burden of grief that he can't unload. After helping the sisters out, he accepts a job as a cook, intending to stay long enough to replenish his cash reserve before moving on to the next town.

Not a lot actually happens as we follow the characters through their day to day lives, although the two rowdy customers do come back and stir up trouble. But as the story unfolds and we slowly learn more about the circumstances that brought Heath to this point in his life, Ms. Hart takes us deep into the characters' heads and psyches. Usually a romance is a little more on the heroine's point of view, but I felt like this was really Heath's story more than Amy's. While Amy has her own issues of course, and her own tragic background, Heath is the soul who jumps out of the pages and makes you want to wrap your arms around him and tell him it will be okay.

And towards the end, I thought he'd had a breakthrough of sorts, and I set the book down to go to sleep, thinking I'd pick it up the next day and the last couple of chapters would be sweet and lead to that HEA. I did not expect to pick it up again and suddenly be on an emotional roller coaster that literally made me cry.

A very well done character study. I will definitely seek out more of this author, and particularly this series.

(I purchased this book at a library book sale.)

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