In Zoglman’s debut novel, a young woman reluctantly returns to her small Indiana hometown to clean out her dead parents’ farmhouse only to find herself caught up in a whirlwind romance with the man who broke her heart 13 years earlier.
Despite her desperate efforts to forget, Toni Smythe can’t deal with the painful memories from her past. However, when her parents pass away, she’s forced to move back to her Indiana hometown to sell the property that has been in her family since the 1800s. That week, Trent, Toni’s ex-boyfriend from high school—the man who, before breaking her heart, impregnated her out of wedlock with a child who died right after birth—drives to the farmhouse with many unanswered questions to ask her. Though they don’t know it yet, the two of them were told separate stories as to why the other left, Toni believing Trent didn’t want anything to do with her once he joined the National Guard, and Trent believing Toni had become pregnant with another man’s baby and left town. Now, refusing to repair any relationships from her past, Toni only wants to cut every tie she has with her hometown. As she sorts through family heirlooms and unearths different memories of her family’s heritage, she becomes conflicted about leaving. Matters complicate further as Trent diligently strives to rekindle their lost romance, with Toni realizing that her longing for him will not disappear. The novel’s pacing is fantastic, building tension and page-turning suspense with each chapter. Characterization is shown, not told, with subtle descriptions: “[Toni] grinned as she took a swallow of ice-cold milk and wiped her mouth on the back of her dirty flannel shirtsleeve, and then she grimaced at the coarseness of the action.” The connection between Toni and Trent feels real, and their restrained passion for each other is palpable. Zoglman consistently surprises with riveting plot twists and indulgent, passionate love scenes. The novel becomes much deeper than straightforward romance, with family pride, class issues and deep-rooted secrets fueling the drama as the two lovers try to sort out their complicated past.
An absorbing, expertly crafted novel highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a passionate love story.