A woman strives to rebuild her life after leaving a loveless marriage in this novel by Winfield (Belle Grove, 2016, etc.).
To outsiders, Rory Jensen seems to have all the trapping of a perfect life, including a marriage to a Phoenix police detective and a loving daughter in graduate school. In reality, she’s trapped in a loveless, emotionally abusive marriage. One day, she decides that she can’t take it anymore, so she hits the road with no clear destination in mind. She eventually finds herself in Willow Bend, a small town in Northern California, where no one knows who she is. There, she rents a cottage at Willow Grove Resort and, for the first time, must get by on her own, without anyone to take care of her. This means making new friends—including neighbor Marlena and handsome deputy park ranger Will Powers—and holding down a job for the first time in years. Later, her old flame Ben Colters appears, which further complicates matters. She’s soon faced with some tough decisions: Is she truly ending her relationship with her husband? Is she ready to date again? And can she finally confront a traumatic childhood incident that continues to haunt her? Winfield takes readers through a year in Rory’s life, and it’s empowering to watch her grow from a woman who second-guesses herself to one who confidently takes control of her life. As a result, Rory is a believable, sympathetic heroine, and the novel’s supporting characters aren’t clear-cut heroes and villains, as Winfield develops them with depth and nuance. The story does follow a well-trod path; “Finding myself…what a cliché,” Rory says at one point. However, it’s a feel-good drama that fans of the genre will love.
An inspiring, if not groundbreaking, tale of a woman reclaiming her life.