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Always in My Heart

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Two years ago, Ellie Grant would have fallen apart at any reminder of her ex-husband, Tucker. But now she doesn't bat an eye when "their song" comes on the radio. She's unfazed by the thought of Tucker's perky new girlfriend. Ellie Grant is over him. And things are better for Tucker as well. The single life agrees with him. And certainly they've both done a good job of being civil to each other, for the kids' sake.

But the kids aren't buying it. Zach and Kody are convinced that deep down, their parents are still meant to be together. Up to their elbows in scheming and dreaming, the brothers hatch a plan. They'll run away from home into the Oregon wilderness and stay there until their parents agree to get back together. Surely Ellie and Tucker will come to the rescue --- and to their senses.

Let the games begin and the sparks fly ...

420 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2002

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About the author

Catherine Anderson

111 books2,751 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
(1)romance author:
Adeline Catherine was born and raised in Grants Pass, Oregon, USA. She always yearned to be a writer like her mother. The morning that one of her professors asked if she could use samples of Catherine’s creative writing on an overhead projector to teach was a dream come true. In 1988, she sold her first book to Harlequin Intrigue and went on to write three more before she tried her hand at a single-title historical romance. Nine books later, she did her first single-title contemporary.

Catherine married Sidney D. Anderson, an industrial electrician and entrepreneur. They had two sons, Sidney D. Jr. and John G. In 2001 she and her husband purchased a central Oregon home located on a ridge with incredible mountain views and surrounded by forestland honeycombed with trails. It was her dream home, a wonderland in the winter and beyond beautiful in the summer. She named it Cinnamon Ridge after the huge ponderosa pines on the property, which sport bark the color of cinnamon.

Sadly, Catherine lost her husband to a long-term illness in 2014. She has kept Cinnamon Ridge as her primary residence but divides her time between there and her son John's farm, where she has the support of her loved ones and can enjoy his horses, cows, and raise her own chickens.

Catherine loves animals and birds, both wild and domestic. She presently has two Australian shepherds, six cats, and a very old canary. She is very family oriented as well. Her older son has lived in Japan, Australia, and now resides in New Zealand. Catherine and her stateside family will celebrate Christmas on the north island with Sidney, his wife Mary, and their two sons, Liam and Jonas.

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5 stars
706 (36%)
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686 (35%)
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412 (21%)
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102 (5%)
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23 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 95 reviews
Profile Image for Karla.
1,043 reviews225 followers
January 11, 2019
4.5 stars!

This was a gut-wrenching beautiful book of second chance love. There’s something special about getting another chance to be with the one you love again that gets me every time.

I was a bit worried at first with the MC Ellie and Tucker they had quite the resentment towards each other. But after their kids set them up to be together and in the wilderness of Oregon I started to see their defenses come down. Honestly, it’s hard for me to judge them on everything that happened in their marriage the way they handle things I couldn’t even for a second imagine the heartache they went through. Having both their POV was essential because I understood how they both felt and the guilt they both carried. After finishing the book I realized that they needed this distance to be able to heal as it painful as it was not to be together.

Add to this emotional story the beautiful setting of Oregon the adventure feel it had with camping and hiking. Ah, this book seemed to have it all even humor among the sadness all the feels for sure. Have to bow down to two special boys Zach and Kody who were so freaking brave not just to bring their parents together but helped their family heal. Not to forget but to ALWAYS be in their hearts! I know I say this a lot but man the epilogue, perfection! ♥️
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
January 19, 2021
It started off interesting enough but then just dragged and dragged and dragged. Jeez, if they walked one more mountain trail and passed by a Ponderosa Pine Tree again, I was going to scream ...

I did go through a phase, some years back, of reading this author and really enjoyed the books but maybe that phase is over now. It sort of annoyed me. I know I can be a fussy reader and quite picky but, hey, isn't it better to be honest about our reading experiences?

A bit too sugary sweet ... and if those two boys had been mine, I would have walloped their arses from here to kingdom come for the stunt they pulled... the wooden spoon across the arse never did me any harm!!

And before any PC twats come on to tell me that physical punishment never solved anything ... I am joking (kind of)!!
Profile Image for Catherine.
523 reviews540 followers
December 31, 2011
After starting this book, I was almost positive that I wouldn't like it. The heroine, Ellie, seemed like a bitter ex-wife who was trying to play at being a martyr-mom. Everything she did was for her kids. She lived and breathed solely to be there for them and never thought of herself. Her whole life was for them and she was critical of her ex for not being as dedicated as she was. She apparently hadn't even been able to shave in two weeks because the time she'd waste on that was precious time she could have been spending on her kids. *excuse me while I take a moment to gag* Right then and there, it's a good bet that I'm already on the ex's side. I just met her and even I couldn't stand her!

But I soon saw that the author set her up like that very deliberately. This was a woman who had suffered in life and who was overcompensating for something quite tragic. She and her ex, Tucker, split up after the loss of one of their sons, and they both reacted to it in very different ways. Their changes in behavior were sad indications of the loss they had suffered and the emotional upheaval that it caused. Not only did they lose a son, they lost each other. Their attitudes didn't always make them likable (mostly Ellie), but it did make their slow change feel more authentic for being so hard won.

Ellie and Tucker have both disliked each other since their divorce. They blame each other for certain things and they both suffer from feelings of guilt and inadequacy that they can't seem to deal with, beyond turning it into anger at each other. They've been divorced for three years and have avoided speaking to each other entirely for the last year. Their kids have become very unhappy and they can feel that the point of no return is coming. They decide to take drastic measures and run away.

Ellie and Tucker, along with their current love interests, mount a search for the kids, but at first they can't seem to do anything but fight and play the blame game. This made their relationship feel more real, but it's constant nature occasionally made me grit my teeth. Their journey to find their kids finally forced them into each other's company long enough to admit that they're not over each other. They finally had to deal with all the messed up emotions they've been hiding inside. It was a painful process, but it unfolded well.

One of the things that always makes me nervous about second-chance-romances is fearing that the author will take the characters too far. I love that trope, but I want to be able to feel good about them getting together. I need to believe that they can recover from the wrongs they have dealt each other. That means walking a fine line when writing their reasons for breaking up and the way they've treated each other since. I'm happy to say that Anderson nailed this. The reader could sympathize with both of them over their reasons for breaking up, but it was also apparent that they really belonged together. They needed time and distance to get over some genuinely heartbreaking things, but in the end the only one that made them truly happy was each other.

The book focuses around the search for their missing children and takes place over a relatively short period of time. The pacing was well done and I never felt like things were going too quickly to be believable. The only thing that bothered me, other than a few irritants now and again, was the fact that the kids ran away and put their parents through that and never really had any internalization of how wrong they were to behave that way. It's like the fact that Ellie and Tucker got back together cancelled out the punishment that I think they deserved. I think their complaints were completely valid, but that was a crappy thing of them to do.

Profile Image for Booklover.
646 reviews1 follower
November 13, 2011
Completed this book today must say such a beautiful story of giving love a second chance,a try to re-build the family that is broken after a tragedy followed by divorce

Tucker and Ellie Grant divorced after the death of their oldest son, whom each felt guilt and blame over the tragic accident that killed him. 3 years later, the two remaining sons, run away into the mountains refusing to come back until their parents get back together, forcing Tucker and Ellie to spend time together tracking the boys to the place where they used to camp as a family. All along the way, they fight their old feelings, and discover some unknown truths about each other and thier family.....This story has some highly emotional moments which is the strength of the book.

Absolutely LOVED Tucker-Ellie's love how they fall in love get married n how the accident that killed their first born son Sammy shatters them,the anger,accusations,,guity,bitterness ,divorce

Loved Zach-Kody their twin sons that make their parents realise how they are miserable n what they feel n their plans to make their parents fall in love again finally how they are successful

This is an excellent book with very well developed characters.
Absolutely recommend it
Profile Image for Sara.
172 reviews11 followers
September 28, 2012
This book reminds me of one of those unrealistically perfect Hallmark movies with a tiny bit of Lifetime thrown in there. Giant tragedy strikes a family and tears husband and wife apart, but after a few days in the wilderness they're back in each other's arms and it was like the divorce never happened. Kids pull a stunt that nearly gets one of them killed near the end, their wacky plan works and they don't even get a slap on the wrist. Love interests that mainly serve as plot devices to drive the point home that the couple was so meant to be, and an epilogue so sappy and cheesy it'd make maple syrup taste bitter.

But I liked it. God help me, I actually liked this one. If there was ever a book to read for the sheer guilty pleasure of it, this is it. The characters aren't terribly written, but they're not especially gripping either. The plot is just one big brochure for the Great Outdoors with some Wilderness Survival Guide tossed in there. The female love interest being Obviously a Bad Person made me bristle, and the male love interest poking the heroine in the chest being treated like ultraviolence was just laughable. The backstory of Ellie and Tucker's divorce following the death of their oldest son skirted a line between genuine tearjerker and maudlin melodrama. And I quite disliked the implication that "normal" kids don't ever write in notebooks. I get that it was trying to say "Kody's depressed, so he doesn't do things he used to like and spends his time mindlessly watching TV and internalizing his feelings in a notebook", but it could've been dealt with MUCH better. As a woman who's been writing in notebooks since she was eight years old, I took offense to that. :P

But I just kept reading, and when the perfect happy ending came I was satisfied. If "Sweet Nothings" and "Sun Kissed" brought out the cynical complainer in me, this one brought out the sap who craves happy endings.

This one also stands out from Catherine's usual fare by having the couple already having been together. Their main obstacle is working through the bad feelings and trying to re-ignite the spark. Tucker isn't as much of a cowboy as Catherine's other heroes, and Ellie isn't the standard "her private hell: the insert name here story" as Catherine's other heroines. There's no Villain Ex Machina or gratuitous rescue scenes to eyeroll at. But aside from that you can tell it's an Anderson book, from the settings to the dialogue.

It's far from perfect. It's unrealistic as hell. But I'll gladly curl up with it on a rainy day and get lost in the cheesiness.
December 16, 2017
Another emotional yet beautiful and healing second chance story from my new favorite author.
There's nothing more traumatic than what this couple went through. To get past all the pain, guilt and shame they had to literally climb a mountain. I cried so many tears for every character.
True love like this is why I read.
Very happy epilogue.

Safe with exceptions. They were each others one and only.
Divorced for 3 years Ellie and Tucker were both celibate. They both had recently started dating due to their sons lying to them saying each other were dating people to try to make them jealous. But neither went past kissing and actually Tucker hasn't even done that until this trip to go after the kids. His "very casual platonic to this point date" Liz is threatened by Ellie so she throws herself at Tucker at the campsite.. Rubs on him and kisses him and makes sexual advances and movements. His body responds but he's disgusted and not interested and turns her down nicely.. Even though it's been 3 yrs for him and his ex wife is there with another man. I don't like ow scenes but I totally understand his body's response and most importantly that his heart pushed him away. He's the first one to realize the next day he's still deep in love with Ellie and he goes after her heart again. Both the guy and Liz are gone by day 2 or 3.

The other non safety triggers are death of child and survival guilt.
Profile Image for Cc.
1,015 reviews125 followers
May 29, 2017
There is NO cheating or betrayal in this book! I do not understand some reviewers taglines at all. Ok, mini rant over. Well written, if somewhat over dramatic second chance love story after the loss of a child. I didn't see any triggers and the death of child is treated with all the respect it demands. The fact that the kids had to resort to this to get thier parents to speak to one another really highlighted the immaturity of said parents. I didn't enjoy this, hence only 2 stars. But.... I will say that personal experiences may have colored my perception, may have......but I don't think so, those two were really childish themselves. To each her own.
Profile Image for Mohade$eh.
244 reviews15 followers
February 11, 2019
After reading 80% of it I wanted to give it 4 stars but when I finished I chose whole 5 stars because you can learn a lot of moral points about family, loss and love and a parents be so sensitive and responsible about your children's feelings. And on top of all TALK! lots of distresses and misunderstandings are results of assuming instead of just talking.

PS. thank u Karla for sending this book to me ♥
Profile Image for Dinjolina.
525 reviews498 followers
August 1, 2011
I love this book!
I just did a re-read of it, an realized i was still in love with it.

Oh and a big Hooorah! for the author that did not make the hero go around the block after his divorce. The premises that this couple oly had each other in their beds all their lives made me smile a sappy smile because it never happens in cont romances.
Good for you to think out of the box,Mrs.Author. :)
388 reviews
June 22, 2018
Wanted to read and finish this book because I love old school angst and this book was promising it strong. But!!!when 10% in the obvious female villain was trying to force the H into sex when they were ona search for his runaway kids and he didn’t use that very obvious reason to turn her off?? Um, my kids are missing in the forest. Their mommy is here. The last thing I am going to do is initiate sex with you on DAY ONE OF THE SEARCH. That he even feels bad for turning her down at this point is ridiculous. He should be disgusted by her or at least questioning her timing. She needs to hit on him now? And he’s such a douche that he doesn’t call her off for her timing?? I don’t care what happens after; be enough of a human to tell her she’s out of line to try to fuck you night one of your missing child search.

Okay, I went back for more because it’s considered such a classic. And I love bad angst. And then it sucked again. Why the fuck is he shaving? You’ve been in the woods one day to find your kids and you need to shave? Is there any amount of days you’d be tracking your lost kids in the wood and you’d think you’d need time to stop and shave? And that you actually brought shaving gear when you set out to save your kids? Oh, and he also has astringent to slap on his jaw.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews712 followers
June 3, 2013
Are you sure the main characters are in their 30s because in that case I am probably in my 50s.

I have no idea how those kids came up with a plan like that... I feel stupid.

And.. wow.... how good could their relationship be if they faced so many communication problems? I do not understand.

I am confused.

Profile Image for Jucko.
101 reviews4 followers
January 18, 2021
Magyar nyelvű olvasás, csak lusta voltam felvinni a kiadást.

Bevallom, nem vagyok a második esély történetek nagy rajongója, de Catherine Andersonnál tudom, hogy garantált a hepiend...
Az elején még bevallom nem is nagyon kedveltem Ellie-t, mert annyira túlzásba vitte a szupermamaságot, hogy mindent a két gyermekének rendel alá. Persze, érthetőek a félelmei, az aggodalmai, hiszen elveszítette a legidősebb fiát, a házassága is tönkrement, de már-már idiótán viselkedett. (Ahogy Tucker is.) Beleestek az önhibáztatás ördögi körébe ahelyett, hogy nyitottak volna egymás felé, hisz az ég szerelmére, nem csak Ellie vagy Tucker vesztették el a fiukat. Zacket és Kody-t viszont piszkosul csíptem. A két kis bajkeverő szép kis tervet fundált ki, hogy összehozzák a szüleiket és közben világossá tegyék a számukra, hogy bár ők is gyászolják a bátyjukat, de még életben vannak és szükségük van a szüleikre. (Egy alapos dorgálást azért nem sajnálnék tőlük, mert azért hiába a jó szándék, csak gyerekek.) A legszívbemarkolóbb talán a srácok levelei voltak a végén, ami felnyitotta a felnőttek szemét.

Profile Image for ChOOzzz.
58 reviews2 followers
November 2, 2020
This is one of my favorite books by Catherine Anderson.
The characters, the story and goodness...the kids were amazing.
If you want to read a love story of a couple who got separated but their kids conspired to bring them together, you MUST READ THIS ONE!
Profile Image for Maria.
2,033 reviews36 followers
December 11, 2021
A heart-wrencher, this book had me crying and laughing and pulling wholeheartedly for all the characters in this family of four. If you enjoy backpacking as I do, that was an added plus. I must admit that I had trouble with Ellie's continued belligerence. Tucker, at least, came to grips with the problems earlier. I felt Ellie didn't even try for the longest time. This book is a good example of an inside look at a marriage that has foundered and why it happened and how hard it is to work things out. The rewards of doing so are also pointed out by the end.
Profile Image for Stephanie Jenkins Ortiz Cerrillo.
372 reviews10 followers
January 28, 2021
Always in My Heart struck close to home for me because as a 10 year old girl I went thru a similar experience that tore my family apart. Catherine Anderson has delivered a heart wrenching yet amazing love story with lots of adventure and a great plot.

Zach and Kody are determined for their parents to get back together. They know that their parents, Tucker and Ellie Grant, still love it other. It's so obvious to the boys so they don't see how they're parents can't see for themselves that they still love each other. The boys just want their parents back together and for them to realize that they have two sons that want to just get back to as normal of life as possible as a family. The boys hatch an elaborate plan to run away from home into the Oregon wilderness and stay. They know that their parents will hike in after them and they won't allow their parents to catch up to them until they are in fact "back together". The boys feel that if their parents are alone in the wilderness day after day and night after night they'll come to their senses. That is until they both show up on the trail with their so-called significant others. Now the boys have to figure out how to get them out of the picture so the harrowing adventure begins.

You won't want to miss this emotional yet amazing read!
Profile Image for Angela  Wilson .
214 reviews14 followers
January 14, 2020

This was just an okay read. It was too long . I do think I paid too much for this book. I would NOT recommend this book because of the price.
Profile Image for Jennifer Defoy.
282 reviews29 followers
August 9, 2016
I did like this book, but it took me forever to read. It was almost the end of the book before I got "hooked". The writing was good enough to keep me going, and the story itself was pretty good I just couldn't get into the groove with this one.

I can't even imagine being in Ellie's position. How she managed to keep going, given everything that she's been through was a feat in itself. Then to have to deal with her kid's hair brained plan... There would be two sorry kids if that was me. At the beginning of the book I was thinking, well they're just acting out, but by the end of the book all I could think was these kids need to be flogged!

But the love story between Ellie and Tucker was enough to keep me reading. There was one point when I was kind of scared for them. I wasn't really expecting there to be a sense of fear in the story. There were so many emotions worked into it. I think the mix of emotions was what really kept me reading.
549 reviews2 followers
April 23, 2022
One if the worst books ever. If it can happen & it is bad, it happens to this family. A teenage son dies on a motorcycle, the couple divorces over it, neither moves on because they each blame themselves, the mom & other 2 sons move away from family and friends so she can forget, the boys hate the move, the parents date a few losers, the boys run away into the mountains, both parents go to hunt for them, break up with the ppl they've been dating, both of those 2 think the kids are brats & need physical discipline, the boys keep outrunning the parents, the parents fall into the river, one of the boys fall over a cliff & breaks an arm.
Disaster, devastation, death, divorce, drama, terrible story, the parents do get back together since that's why the sons ran away. Over the top trouble. If the characters were likable, I might have cried.
I've read many of this writers books & enjoyed them. This one? Nope
Profile Image for Liz.
347 reviews
March 26, 2008
I loved this book. I got so attached to the characters. I hurt, cried, laughed and loved right along with them. I loved this book so much I'm going to start reading more of Catherine Anderson's books. What a wonderful read, I couldn't put it down. Having children myself made this book even more enjoyable.
Profile Image for Lynn.
421 reviews63 followers
March 15, 2013
was agitated at the begining with the "hot" girlfriend for him and the pudgy boyfriend for her...but the book was wonderful....one i got over being mad and let myself enjoy the book...lol. I cried and i laughed and i empathized with the characters and their choices.
Profile Image for Rose.
51 reviews
December 5, 2022

The best way I can think to describe the plot of this book is a cross between The Parent Trap and You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle. This read was fun and well paced with a great slowburn and a captivating climax. I’m definitely becoming a Catherine Anderson stan at this point. I’ve read so many of her books and none of them have disappointed. I’m not going to lie, I think this is one of my favorites. It’s simple yet complex and without getting into any spoilers, it’s one emotional roller coaster. I cried. I cried because of the protagonists’ grief and the realistic and beautiful portrayal of the consequences (and so much more). Honestly, I can’t recommend this book enough.
Profile Image for Maggie Shanley.
1,204 reviews15 followers
January 20, 2018
Catherine Anderson never fails to elicit an emotional reaction. Perhaps not the best choice to take to the Doctor's office today...he came into the exam room while I was wiping my eyes and prepared to increase my medicine! This book starts off kind of amusing but then gets intense as Ellie and Tucker Grant, divorced parents of boys, go off to find their runaway kids in an Oregon wilderness. The whole family collapsed when Sammy the eldest child died three years ago, now to get their parents attention Kody and Zach runaway and lead their parents on a trip down memory lane in hopes of bringing their family back together again.
1,228 reviews2 followers
July 27, 2021
Being as Catherine Anderson is one of my favorite authors, this book is a good example of her touching romance stories. It is about a couple that loved each other more than anything, but after a tragedy lost their way and got a divorce. Their two boys couldn't stand their family divided and hatched a plan to get them back together. They knew that their Mom and Dad still loved each other and they just had to prove it to them. So they ran away into the Oregon wilderness. This is the story of what the parents had to do to find them and how their relationship turned out. A good touch the heart story.
Profile Image for Sam D.
368 reviews13 followers
July 26, 2022
Giving this 3.8 stars.

I enjoyed this. I think it did a good job of highlighting how easy it is to miscommunicate and just stop listening to your partner. They both had ideas in their heads about what had happened and twisted it to fit.

It was really sad and you could feel the grief and helplessness, but you could also feel the love.

Now…them kids are crazy lol. I cannot believe they did all of that.

This does a great job of showing how love just isn’t enough sometimes if you don’t talk.
Profile Image for Ess.
644 reviews5 followers
February 10, 2018
I loved reading this book!! It had angst, legitimate reasons as to why the marriage didn’t work and very mature for their age kids (lol). I feel like it would have been five stars had it not dragged a bit. I believe it could have been wrapped up a bit faster and also I would have liked to read more from children’s point of view once the conflict is resolved and their plan actually works. But overall great read!
Profile Image for Brenda.
1,100 reviews
May 22, 2017
A beautifully written story.A family tore apart by the death of their son.Having lost a brother I know that this can and does happen.I really connected with this story.Made me laugh,cry and wanna scream..Tucker and Ellie loved each other,But couldn't stop blaming themselves .Their 2 sons take matters into their own hands..
Profile Image for Tonya Lucas.
1,133 reviews11 followers
October 26, 2020
Catherine Anderson never fails to deliver heart-wrenching, nailbiting drama.
This book truly was a joy to read and reminds us how important family is to children.
Always In My Heart Is one of her best contemporaries.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 95 reviews

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