by Susan Wiggs

February 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2617-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

As the cold appears to be here to stay what better way to relax and stay warm than with a favorite hot toddy, and a wonderful book? I canít do much about suggesting good hot beverages, but I can suggest the wonderful book. I suggest Fireside by Susan Wiggs.

Ms. Wiggs takes readers back to upstate New York, and the small but bustling town of Avalon. Here Bo Crutcher, who has wanted nothing more than to pitch for the major leagues, is on the brink of getting his chance. Nothing seems to be in his way, until he gets the news that the mother of his son Yolanda Martinez is being deported, and he must now take 12 year old AJ, the son heís never met.

Also in Avalon is Kimberly Van Dorn. Kim, as sheís known, spent many happy childhood hours in her grandparents home enjoying sports of every sort. It seemed only natural that she would grow up and follow her heartís desire to be in the sports field in some capacity. She is a publicist, but her career has taken a sudden downturn and she returns to Avalon not to lick her wounds, but to reflect on her life choices, and to see if she can figure out what she really wants.

Bo and Kim donít have the best of first meetings, and it takes awhile for Kim to warm to Bo, but not because the chemistry isnít there and spontaneous. Itís because even though Kim appears to be a fast social person, sheís really a small town girl at heart.

Fireside is not a frivolous romance novel where Kim and Bo go about falling into each others arms willy-nilly...instead they pussy foot around not because theyíre afraid of hurting one another, but because they worry about the situation AJ is in, and whether or not his mother will truly be deported.

Ms. Wiggs took a serious situation and kept it in the minds of her readers while showing the impartiality that I think few writers could achieve. She also didnít continually tell readers about the awful conditions that Yolanda must have endured, but rather used it to help explain why AJ was the way he was.

Fireside is a book full of emotion from the first page to the last. I believe that readers will want to be sure they have plenty of time to sit and enjoy their fire, and beverage because they wonít want to set aside Fireside until they too have turned the last page.

Reviewed in January 2009 by Sandi.

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