by Marilyn Pappano

September 2003
ISBN: 0-440-24119-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

Small wonders is what one can expect when staying in Bethlehem, New York. 'Small Wonders' is also the name of Leanne Wilsonís little store. Small Wonders is a story that will warm your heart, bring tears to your eyes and have you believing in the impossible.

Cole Jackson is a con artist, a convicted one. Only months ago he lived with his son Ryan in Bethlehem, won the citizens' trust and Leanneís heart. He left it all behind for another scam in another town. But as fate would have it he gets caught and brought back to Bethlehem where his sentence is for lengthy community work. The worst punishment - it means facing the hate of his son, his lover and the town he had come to like.

But is it really hate? Leanne knows she should hate the man that betrayed her trust, hurt and disappointed her. However, love is never that easy. He might be the bad boy, but heís also a man struggling to be a good father. And her? She is not one to learn from past mistakes. And with the intervention of some rather persistent helpers Leanne and the rest of Bethlehem donít stand a chance of not forgiving past transgressions.

Iím not into inspirational romances, maybe because I havenít read many yet, and I imagined them to be a bit preachy. Marilyn Pappanoís Small Wonders sure could be labeled inspirational, as there is talk of prayers, faith and angels. Should that be the case then it looks like I might be missing plenty of good books by passing on the inspirational ones. I loved Small Wonders. It made me cry, laugh and fall in love. It touched me deeply with its message of inner strength and that one can change if one only wants it badly enough. I enjoyed reading about the characters, every single one of them, who are caring and loving and unafraid to trust.

Small Wonders is the second of Ms Pappanoís books Iíve read and I can only recommend it to anyone looking for a emotional story, well crafted, with heart, a lot of love and a beautiful understanding of human nature. Be prepared, though, for small children, puppies and holiday decorations.

I liked her previous book Cabin Fever, absolutely adore Small Wonders and canít wait for any other story set in near-perfect Bethlehem, New York.

Reviewed in September 2003 by Kris Alice.

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