Published: 2002
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 291
Challenge: TBR Challenge #8

I was thirty-three years old when my husband walked out into the field one morning and never came back and I went in one quick leap from wife to widow.

From the inside front cover:
Lucy Hatch never expected more of life than to spend it on an East Texas farm with her silent and stoic husband, Mitchell. Now that the curtain has abruptly come down, she’s back where it all started – in tiny Mooney – living in a run-down old house perched on the edge of nowhere, meaning to carry out her widowhood in the manner of her old maid Aunt Dove, in peaceful solitude.

But life, and the folks of Mooney, have other plans for Lucy. In hardly any time at all, she’s mortified her entire family by taking a job driving a delivery van for a local florist shop. And without even trying, she’s caught the eye of the local handyman, Ash Farrell – lifting eyebrows and setting tongues wagging. Everyone in town, it seems, thinks the guitar-playing, lady-loving Ash is the wrong choice of company for a brand-new widow whose man is barely cold in his grave. Part of Lucy, as well, is telling her she’s on the road to perdition. But it’s the other part – the scared, elated, electrified part – that’s saying “What if . . .? ‘

I really liked parts of this book and wasn’t at all impressed with other parts. The struggles Lucy has with her conflicted feelings and family relationships is well written. The character of her sister-in-law, Geneva is just a bunch of fun. Where the book falls flat for me is when it falls back on being a straight romance novel and drifts into a bodice ripper set in modern day East Texas. Take out about 30 pages of sex scenes and it’s a good story of a woman coming to terms with her past, her present, her needs and desires. Leave those sections in and it’s a book that can’t decide what it wants to be.