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Autumn Blue    by Karen Harter order for
Autumn Blue
by Karen Harter
Order:  USA  Can
Center Street, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

Sidney Walker is struggling to raise three children on her own. Her ex-husband doesn't pay his child support, and has flitted in and out of their lives, telling lies for years. Matters come to a head when Sidney's teenaged son Tyson is arrested, then runs away from home, breaking his probation. Increasingly angry and moody, Tyson returns to find himself facing five years in prison. He is accused of armed robbery and stealing. Sidney is overwhelmed, not knowing where to turn for help. Throw in the story of an elderly man across the street and a deputy sheriff with his own problems, and the plot thickens.

Autumn Blue begins with Sidney looking for her son after he runs away. Her search to reach Tyson continues when he is placed in house arrest, with the stipulation that he is under adult supervision. Sidney gratefully accepts the help of Millard Bradbury across the street, whose life has become regimented and predictable following his wife's death. Tyson's behavior starts Millard wondering about his own as the two set about testing each other's boundaries. Sidney also struggles to deal with the deputy sheriff involved in Tyson's case. Cold and unreachable, Alex Estrada tackles Tyson head on, structuring his community service. Sidney wonders who else she can turn to. Will reviving a past relationship gone awry help? Things go from bad to worse when her ex-husband Dodge shows up once again.

Karen Harter has produced a page-turner with Autumn Blue. From Sidney to Tyson to Millard to Alex - all are openly human. Readers will identify with Harter's characters as they express their own feelings and try to reach an understanding with those around them. Starting the book as near strangers to each other, they all strive to carve out more for themselves in the world that they know. At times sweet and funny, and at other times heart breaking, Autumn Blue is a wonderful read. Beautifully written, from its opening paragraph to its final conclusion, it's a story that grabs at your heart.

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