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Legend    by Dinah McCall order for
by Dinah McCall
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HarperTorch, 1998 (1998)

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Written by Sharon Sala as Dinah McCall, Legend has a paranormal twist that I had not experienced before in Sala's books. The author is known for pulling the heartstrings of readers with her talent for creating richly drawn characters who are deeply in love but often, something has kept the loveswept couple apart. Such is the case here, when two high school sweethearts are reunited twelve years after a bitter, sudden breakup.

Twelve years prior, seventeen-year-old Raine Beaumont moved from her small home town in Arizona to Chicago with her family. Raine's high school love was Joseph Colorado, a passionate Apache young man three years Raine's senior. A miscommunication between Raine and Joseph, coupled with a lie by Raine's father, led to their break up. Raine relocated to Chicago with her family and she did not speak to Joseph until twelve years later. Back in Arizona, Raine is no longer the young, carefree teenager from her high school days. When Raine moved to Chicago, she felt betrayed and abandoned by Joseph. She has returned because she has unfinished business and an important favor to ask of Joseph. However, she has no intentions of rekindling their relationship, and her planned stay in Arizona is temporary, at best.

Joseph has become a mature, responsible man who is stunned to see Raine after so many years. He always believed that Raine betrayed him and then walked out of his life without a word. Further, Joseph is dumbfounded and shocked when Raine asks permission to have their son's body buried on Joseph's land, where he lives and raises horses for a living. Unbeknownst to Joseph, Raine was pregnant with his child when she left for Chicago and she gave birth to a stillborn baby boy several months later. Raine has recently quit her job as a journalist and wants to exhume her son's body from the impersonal cemetery in Chicago and to 'bring her son home' to Arizona. Raine has been holding onto the pain of having lost a child for all these years and Joseph readily agrees to her request, although he feels terribly guilty that he was not there for Raine in her time of need and grief.

As Raine spends time with Joseph, she sees a more mature, older and wiser man. Her intuition is correct, in that Joseph has inherited responsibility for a 'healing place,' near his home that is part of Apache legend. There, Joseph has the power to heal the sick and dying, although this is a secret that fellow Apaches keep close to their hearts and would never disclose to the white man. But knowledge of the healing places falls into the hands of a greedy, wealthy, dying man named Stuart Damon Rossi III, a man who will pay or do anything to be healed and live the healthy life that his millions could not previously buy him.

This romance is layered with paranormal elements, Apache legend, fate and greed. It is about loved ones reuniting and rekindling a spark that never completely burned out. The characters are deftly drawn and their love rings true. For those willing to let their imagination wander and to invest themselves in the heartfelt characters, Legend will be a satisfying read.

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