Noelle St. Clair is fleeing her life as a pampered, sheltered ‘rich kid’ and has nowhere to go. Unable to use her credit cards or cell phone (she doesn’t want to be traced), she places two thousand dollars in cash in her backpack with some toiletries and a couple of changes of clothing and gets on the bus, headed out of Long Island and for points West.
Ending up on a ranch in Colorado (the only decent place available to rent in the small town), Noelle’s life is about to change… but it is going to be a long time before it changes for the better.
I liked this book because it doesn’t give quick, happy endings. Life is a struggle and often filled with mistakes and pitfalls and can also be threatening. Memories can overwhelm emotion (we are frail human creatures) and take over reason. Noelle needed to find a place of safety but the two brothers, Morgan and Rick, who offer it to her, are vastly different. With her past, how can she ever come to resolution in her own heart, much less trust anyone else’s?
“Something had made her run away, something gave her a jaded eye, caused the panic attacks, the fractured images. Even if she couldn’t remember what, she recognized the effects. Broken trust was not easily fixed, and the only way she knew to be safe was to trust only herself.”
I read this book quickly on my kindle and it kept me going! There are a couple of chapters I would have left out, (not because they were graphic or upsetting), that I considered unnecessary to move the story along.
I enjoyed experiencing Noelle’s decisions, her mistakes, her slow coming-to-grips with life, and the hesitant approach to belief in a God who would allow evil in a treacherous world (something that seems to be a common stumbling block for many).
Morgan and Rick Spencer are brothers who were raised in the same home and yet one is a fervent Christian, and the other (definitely!) not. The author does not shy away from depicting family conflict or differences but she does portray Christianity in a fresh, believable manner. Rick, who seems so mature, has a faith crisis that is neither shallow nor implausible.
Life is hard, and sometimes almost impossible, and it is so refreshing to read a story that doesn’t try to whitewash the questions with pat answers that gloss over the hard places.
“The sadness was still deep inside her and the knowledge that she might never recover what she’d lost as a five-year-old child. But she no longer faced it alone.”
I got a little impatient with Morgan’s character but it was helpful to realize later that his actions were a front to his own pain. There are so many different facets to how we handle the experiences of life, and the author is able to creatively address how individual we truly are.