by Dorothy Garlock

May 2002
ISBN: 0-446-60812-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

Julie Jones is a small town Missouri girl who is wise beyond her years. She had to grow up fast, when at the age of fifteen she was forced to leave school and stay home to care for her siblings and the family home due to her mother's untimly death. She raised her baby sister Joy from birth and has become a surragate mother to her other siblings. They are a poor family but don't see themselves as such because they have the love of a close family and help of many close friends in their close knit community.

Evan Johnson is a war hero who has returned to Fertile, Missouri to make sure his father doesn't run the family farm into the ground. The farm is Evan's inheritance from his beloved mother who has recently passed away. Evan has never gotten along with his father, Walter Johnson, who is also the town bully. Evan's mother sent him to live with relatives when he was a teenager to keep the two apart.

Evan and Julie first meet when Evan rescues Julie from his father's taunting on her walk home from a trip to town. There is an almost instant attraction between the two and a romance begins to blossom.

Unlike many in the town who think of Evan as evil because his father is and it must be in the blood. The Jones family and many of the other neighbors judge Evan based on his deeds and not those of his father. However a series of crimes shatters the peaceful town of Fertile and Evan is implicated in them.

Will this destroy his relationship with Julie or will she be strong enough to fight for Evan and what she knows is right?

I think of Dorothy Garlock as the master story teller of the 20th century. The queen of the Americana romance you might say. Ms. Garlock's books have taken us through the old west, the depression years of the 30's, the war era of the 40's, the aftermath of war of the 50's and with The Edge Of Town she gives us a glimpse of the jazz age and the prohibition era of the 20's.

Ms. Garlock not only tells a great heartwarming love story in her writing but she introduces us to a whole town and way of life in her books. In The Edge Of Town she carries the reader back to the 20's when a Saturday afternoon baseball game among neighbors after a hard day's work was the entertainment of the day. An evening would consist of a simple meal with family and friends followed by a hour's concert with music provided by your sister's fiddle oops violin playing. Ms. Garlock's writing makes you feel as if you are a part of the town during this simple time in America.

As far as romance goes Ms. Garlock shows the courtship of a couple that took place during this time. They seemed to take more time falling in love than we do in this day and age. I throughly enjoyed visiting the 20's and being a part of Julie and Evan's courtship. I look forward to Ms. Garlock's next novel to revisit this time in our history.

Reviewed in June 2002 by Barbara.

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