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AFTER THE RAIN by Karen White


by Karen White

Pub Date: Dec. 31st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-451-23968-6
Publisher: NAL Accent/Berkley

By the light of a crescent moon, Suzanne Paris spies through her bus window a opossum. Her eyes riveted, she wonders if the creature, like her, will simply wait for the next catastrophe. Or could she, for once, stop hiding.

Abruptly, Suzanne gets off the Atlanta-bound bus to find herself in Walton, Ga. There’s no better place to hide than this rural town. No one, not even her frightening ex-fiance, will find her here. Yet, everyone she meets wants to know where she’s from and where she got the unusual charm around her neck. Walton turns out to be populated with warm characters who have no intention of letting her slip under the radar. There’s Miss Lena, who seems to recognize Suzanne, even though Suzanne’s rough childhood, bouncing between foster homes and an alcoholic mother, never brought her to Walton. There’s Lucinda, who seems to recognize Suzanne’s wariness and hires her to help with her lingerie store. Most importantly, there’s Joe, Lucinda’s widowed nephew-in-law. Father of six, high school teacher, football coach, incumbent mayor—Joe seems impossibly good. A woman with secrets, Suzanne seems like a walking bad decision. Luckily, Joe’s eldest daughter, Maddie, begins to connect the two destined lovers. Like Suzanne, Maddie lost her mother at 14 and has a talent for photography. Soon, Suzanne is tutoring Maddie, baby-sitting Joe’s younger kids and becoming inextricably woven into the fabric of his life. Enter the villain: Stinky Harden, Joe’s competition in the mayoral race and Suzanne’s nemesis as he determines to discover her secret and use it to discredit Joe. Soon, Suzanne’s past threatens her future, and only love—and some rather wicked trickery—can save the day.

White (Sea Change, 2012, etc.) re-polishes her 2003 publication to good effect. This charming romance brims with appealing characters and captivating phrasing.