by Anna Destefano

July 2006
ISBN: 0-373-71358-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin #1358
Mass Market Paperback

It has been eight long years since Neal has stepped back into his hometown of Rivermist, Georgia. Many of those years he sat in prison due to the death of his best friend Bobby Compton. He now has to come home to see how his Dad is. They have not spoken for years and a call from a family friend gives Neal no choice but to drive back and find out what is going on. What Neal does not realize is that his high school sweetheart is back too.

Jennifer Gardner lost a part of herself when Neal was taken away in hand cuffs. She wrote him many letters but never got any replies. She felt she had nothing to live for and her life went downhill until the birth of her daughter. It made her realize that she needed to make changes and with the help of different organizations she was able to do that. She now has a college degree and helps teenagers whenever she can. She hopes that she can help others by guiding them to not make some of the mistakes that she did. Jennifer is also dealing with the guilt of it being her fault that Neal went to prison. So many ifs! If Bobby had not died. If Neil had not gone to prison. If Neil had responded to her letters. But ifs cannot be changed for you can only move forward. One problem Jennifer has is she makes other peoples problems her own, including Mr. Cain, Nealís father. Also she is working very hard to make things right with her own dad.

Neal did not know that Jennifer was even back in Rivermist but when he goes to visit his Dad, and she is there. Mr. Cain is very ill and Jennifer is trying to help him, but this is her first visit there also. She got in but Neal gets the door slammed in his face. There is a lot of anger between Neal and his father, which hopefully they will be able to work out.

Do Neal and Jennifer still carry a love for each other? If so will they be able to work it out? Will Neal stay in town or will his anger get the best of him? What is wrong with his Dad?

I loved this book! It made me laugh as well as cry. The love of this small town is hard to find until people realize you need each other more than the gossip and the pointing of fingers. The Prodigalís Return is a keeper for me and Anna DeStefano has once again shown the love of each character in this book. Enjoy!!!!

Reviewed in July 2006 by Theresa.

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