by Jodi Thomas

Berkley, $7.99, 368 pages

This is what a book should be and very seldom is! The story, the middle of a trilogy, unfolds in a leisurely way, returning us to the town of Harmony, Texas and the three founding families–McAllen, Matheson, and Truman. It’s an old-fashioned type of story with a bit of mystery and romance, and a lot of love.

There isn’t much to keep the young ones in Harmony, but eventually they do seem to return home. Teenager Reagan Truman, however, isn’t originally from Harmony, but she ends up there, and is sort of adopted by old-timer Jeremiah Truman, who has no known relatives. Alexandra McAllen is the new sheriff, while Hank Matheson is the fire chief. Elizabeth Matheson has come back home from law school to open her own office when she encounters Gabe Leary, a battle-scarred veteran with a past, looking for a quiet place to heal and just live his life out in his preferred solitude.

The author blends all these strands into a sweeping, grand story of a little town in rural Texas. No bad words, no actual sex scenes (a bit of sexual tension, but not overbearing!) fabulous characters, and a great plot. What’s not to like? Jodi Thomas has been added to my favorite author list.

Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz