In Mother Road, we find a gentle, well-written story told with the strength and humor characteristic of novels written by Dorothy Garlock.
The novel is set in Depression-era Sayre, Oklahoma, a small town located right off of Route 66 (The Mother Road). Leona Dawson is a feisty, strong-willed, beautiful young woman who makes a life for herself in the town by helping her widowed brother-in-law Andy run his gas station and raise his two young daughters. This doesn’t bode well for Leona in a bible-toting town like Sayre. Her desire to help her brother-in-law earns her the undeserved moniker “scarlet woman of Sayre.” Matters are only made worse by her sanctimonious, wife-beating, older brother. Virgil Dawson has made it his mission in life to “rescue” the children from Leona and take them to a God-fearing home. The religious zealot is also determined that Leona will marry his best and equally hypocritical friend.
In rides Yates, a tough, rugged, mysterious drifter who shows up at Andy’s gas station to pay him back for a good deed that Andy had performed long ago. It turns out that Yates is just in time. Just after he arrives, Andy is bitten by a rabid skunk. He has to be taken to Oklahoma City for treatment, where he has to stay for several weeks. Yates insists upon staying at Andy’s to keep Leona, the girls and the business safe from the unsavory types who travel Route 66, including bootleggers who illegally transport outlawed alcohol across the vast landscape. Put all of these elements together – absentee “warden,” crazy brother, illegal activities – and romance and danger ensue.
Dorothy Garlock has once again given her readers a beautifully written, thoroughly enjoyable love story. All of the characters, including secondary ones, are life-like and believable. The romance between Yates and Leona takes its time to develop and is sweet and heart-warming without being suffocating.