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When Crickets Cry    by Charles Martin order for
When Crickets Cry
by Charles Martin
Order:  USA  Can
WestBow, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Reese Mitchell is hiding from his past. He lives next door to his former brother-in-law Charlie, and the two work side by side building and fixing boats. The years since the death of Reese's wife have been difficult and he isn't ready to let go and say his final good-bye to the woman he loved since childhood. But Emma's congenital heart disease finally overcame her, and with her death Reese stepped away from his former life and everything it meant to him.

Seven-year-old Annie Stephens also suffers from heart problems and her family is trying to raise money for a transplant. Reese feels an instant connection to the girl the minute he lays eyes on her, and he just happens to be in the right place at the right time when Annie is hit by a car. At that moment, Reese's former life and his present one collide and he must make a decision. Can he risk loving and caring about someone again when he knows that early death is a possibility for her?

When Crickets Cry is a beautifully written, meaningful story about the heart - both in a physical sense with Emma's and Annie's heart ailments, and about the emotional state of the heart with respect to Reese's healing. The spiritual lessons are subtle but very poignant. After reading and getting the general idea of the story, I bargained on a sad turn of events. I was correct in a way, because there are some extremely heart-wrenching aspects. However, the outcome is so hopeful that it overshadows any sadness.

Reese is a complex character, one readers will enjoy getting to know. His journey from grief to acceptance feels so real and natural that it's surprising that he's not a real person. The interactions between Annie, Reese, Charlie, and other characters draw readers into the story completely. When Crickets Cry is an impressive and insightful novel.

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