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Touching Stars: A Shenandoah Album Novel    by Emilie Richards order for
Touching Stars
by Emilie Richards
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Gayle Fortman owns and operates a successful bed and breakfast establishment, Daughter of the Stars, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She has raised her three young sons on her own after her divorce from Eric, a broadcast journalist. While they were married family was never first for Eric. He loved the thrill and challenges that came with his job. Gayle was always there giving their boys the love and stability they needed. When Eric left, Gayle was struggling to get the inn on its feet and raise her boys. Now, twelve years later, he is back.

Eric has returned to the family fold and Gayle feels it would be good for their sons to bond with their father. Eric almost lost his life on assignment in Afghanistan and is now mentally trying to recover. Gayle gives him a room at Daughter of the Stars for the summer. Of the children, Jared, the oldest at eighteen, feels responsible for his father's condition. Noah, sixteen, is his mother's protector and does not want his father around. The youngest, fourteen-year-old Dillion, desperately wants his father's attention. Eric is overwhelmed by all the underlying tension with the boys and by his old feelings for Gayle coming to the surface.

Travis Allen is a close neighbour and friend to Gayle and the boys, sometimes acting as a surrogate father. During the summer, Travis operates a camp for local children who want to take part in an archeology dig for Civil War artifacts. Jared helps out as a camp counselor, while Dillion takes part in a special reading for the evening entertainment. Gayle and Noah help by catering the food, and soon Eric joins the group to help with the dig. Everyone is jockeying for their rightful position, and past feelings have to be talked over in order to move forward.

Have they grown apart as a family or can they now go forward into the future as one? Emilie Richards has brought us back to the many characters we have loved in the Shenandoah Album series. She weaves a heartwarming story of family, priorities, and social issues.

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