by Annie Smith

November 2003
ISBN: 0-8217-7371-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

In every motherís life, the time must come when you have to give your children up to whatever fate has in store for her. Even if that fate doesnít seem to be in their best interest. Karen Matheson, the main character of Annie Smithís newest book, Autumn Leaves has reached that point.

Her daughter has gone and joined the Marines. Karen is appalled. She has always tried to teach Katie that there is always a peaceful solution to any argument. She wants to blame the owner of the gym where Katie is being taught how to box. Steve Songer is an ex-Marine. Karen is afraid that he might have influenced her daughterís decision. Until she realizes that her past has caught up with her. Katieís father was a Marine that Karen spent a night with. Katie wants to feel a connection to him.

Steve Songer has enough to worry about with his gym. Also the fact that the town of Hartley is going on a rampage about pit bull type dogs. His American Staffordshire terrier, Lennox, looks like a pit bull, but is really a sweet dog. Lennox needs to be certified to be able to stay in the town. Steve goes to a dog class taught by Karen. Their connection to Katie helps Steve and Karen grow closer together. But Karen must overcome her aversion to violence and the Marines. Steve must help her learn about both so that he can have her in his life forever.

The slow and gentle flow of the story makes for an entertaining afternoon of reading. Annie Smith does a wonderful job building the relationship between the main characters. We are given the privilege of watching Karen overcome her fears and step out to grab life boldly. The secondary characters and the dogs themselves are well developed with great personalities. The only fault I could find is I would have liked to have gotten more information on Steveís past. We donít learn much about what brought him to the point he is at in the book.

Autumn Leaves, is a touching story of a woman learning how to allow her daughter to grow up and learning how to have a wonderful life herself.

Reviewed in February 2004 by Jenni.

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