Mira, 2012 (2012)
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Reviewed by Kim Atchue-Cusella
ora Crane was left in an abandoned house by her ex-boyfriend, with no way to support herself or her two young daughters. She sees a job posting on the bulletin board at the local church and talks the minister, Noah, into driving her three miles to the Cavanaugh apple orchard where she can pick apples to make money. Her neighbors have offered to watch the girls while she works for the season. But her interview with Tom Cavanaugh does not go well. He sees Nora as tiny and not able to keep up with the other apple pickers, and refuses to hire her. His grandmother, Maxie, overrides his decision, not making Tom happy.
om has returned from the Marines to help with the orchard. His grandmother is getting older so he plans to take over the orchard from her. He is not pleased that Maxie hired Nora to help out this season but admits that she is keeping up. Then he finds out she has been walking the three miles to and from work daily and also has horrible blisters from not wearing gloves while picking apples. He decides to pick her up and drop her off from work every day. They become friends and he enjoys being with her. Maxie has also invited Nora and the girls over for dinner on weekends. The more Tom gets to know the little girls, the more they worm their way into his heart. But Nora isn't his type so when his friend's widow shows interest in him, he starts to date her.
om is confused about Darla. Though she appears to be his type everything she does seems to rub him the wrong way. She is materialistic and never helps Maxi with the cooking or cleaning up like Nora does. She also doesn't seem to eat anything of significance while she is with him. He finds himself comparing Darla to Nora constantly. Nora is going through her own internal battles when her father finds her and wants to renew their relationship. Nora has not seen him since she was very young. She doesn't trust him but does meet with him to find out his side of the story.
, the nineteenth book in the
series, is as compelling as the others. Nora and Tom are endearing characters whose love blossoms from friendship and is a delight to watch evolve. Supporting characters (Maxie, Darla, Nora's neighbors, her father and others) round out the story showing how a small town cares for its own. This is one book readers will have a hard time putting down.
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