Neil Sadler has just lain his wife to rest. Her death was quite sudden. He is drawn back to Mason, Ohio. He left Mason thirty years ago after a tragedy which affected him too deeply to stay. He stays at the old farm place, which his cousin Grace is remodeling into a bed and breakfast. He hadnít come back with the intention of helping with the remodeling; he just needed to be there. In the end, he does offer to help with the house.
Mary Beeken has had a troubled life. Her mother had been an invalid; Mary had taken care of her for most of her life. When her mother was found murdered, Maryís life was never the same. She is married to cop who drinks too much. She never had a chance to live her life. She and Neil were to be married, when her mother was murdered, Neil left Mason. Knowing Neil is back in town; Mary has to face her past in order to have a happy future.
Neil has this sense of obligation to Mary. He wants to help her, to make up for what he did thirty years ago. As the book unfolds we are transported back in time, and learn about how Neil, Mary and rest of the families are affected by certain events.
I was impressed with this book. I have read other Ann Tatlock books and this one did not disappoint. She made the characters real, they werenít perfect, they had their flaws, and she wasnít shy about showing them to the reader. I ached for both Neil and Mary; they both had wounds which needed healing for a long time. Using the remodeling of the house as a comparison to people was a clever way to get the point across. You will not be disappointed.