Taking a break from her suspense thrillers, Sandra Brown slows things down and visits depression-era Texas.
Ella Barron works hard running her boardinghouse and caring for her autistic son, Solly. Her life is short on joy, but she is determined to keep her head above water during trying times. Then, one day, an acquaintance asks her if she will take on a new boarder, David Rainwater. It is explained that Mr. Rainwater is dying of cancer, so Ella takes him in, not realizing how he will change her life. Ella’s friends and neighbors are all feeling the effects of the depression, some forced to participate in a distasteful government program. Livestock owners facing foreclosure would sell their herds to the government at a set price per head, but only some of the stock were viable, and the rest were shot and buried. Traumatic for the ranchers, the wasteful program also dismissed the needs of hungry locals who were not allowed to butcher and eat the animals. When Mr. Rainwater and a pastor from a local church attempt to intervene, the town bully steps in to create more tension, leading to the explosive ending.
Though I did enjoy the book, I also found it to be a bit too sentimental. I also found it a bit self-congratulatory foreshadowing when Mr. Rainwater kept telling Ella she needed to read a book because the beauty of the story made up for the sad ending. The climax was also not terribly original, and the conclusion was obvious immediately. Still, these are minor complaints, and for its genre, it was a very readable book.