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Monday, October 18, 2010

Home to the Singing Trees by Liz Flaherty

Home to the Singing Trees by Liz Flaherty
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (246 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Escaping her painful past, Sarah Williamson finds a new life for her loved ones when she takes a position as housekeeper with Liam McKissick at Singing Trees Farm, an idyllic place considering the horrors she’s faced. Sarah, her daughter, and young sister-in-law feel at home as her heart warms to Liam, but then her daughter is kidnapped and danger again threatens her serenity. The need to flee and protect her family battles her growing love for Liam.

Widower Liam McKissick endured a loveless marriage. Unwilling to take another chance at love, he devotes his time to work and family. Despite his efforts to keep to himself, his passion grows for Sarah who brings life and love to his home. Notwithstanding her past and the trouble it may cause, he proposes. Can he risk his heart and family to make her stay?

Sarah Mary Williamson knows “safety is a myth”, but she takes a job as a housekeeper in a small town far away from the danger that lurks in Chicago. She knows working and living in a household with three single men and one little girl will bring gossip, but she will do what she needs to do to provide for and protect her daughter Emily, her young sister-in-law Laura, and herself.

Sarah had lived the life of the privileged for a short time before her husband was killed. After his death, his stepbrother Carl Ransom had made life a nightmare. Her training in the orphanage where she grew up helped her find work, but there was no escaping Carl as long as they stayed in Chicago. Once called “a great, stout girl” Sarah adept, strong, and capable of running a household and does not consider herself desirable, only her precious Johnny now dead had made her feel loved and desired. Her Irish temper is hard to awaken but it does erupt when necessary.

Dr. Liam Kissick senses Sarah’s fear of relocating among strangers and he knows there will be gossip, but he is desperate for help. His little daughter Jessie, his younger brother Davis, and his crippled father-in-law live with him. His big house, never completely furnished after the death of his wife, is dirty, full of cobwebs, and lacking in the little things that make a house a home. No local household help had been willing to risk their reputation by working for a household with three single men.

Sarah becomes an invaluable part of Liam’s household. The quality of life rises as do some other things as Sarah, Emily, and Laura become important members of the home on Singing Tree Farm—for Sarah had truly made the house into a home with her unstinted hard work, love, and kindness (and a little passive bullying when needed). She is happy but knows the time will come when they will have to run again to stay safe.

Liam’s father-in-law, the crotchety Gavin Kendrick adds spicy tartness to situations and can awaken Sarah’s temper. He finds he has met his match in Sarah. She does not back down at his tirades but nudges him gently along to recovering from his depression and injuries. What he does for her later on is amazing.

Liam’s little Jessie blooms with the pragmatic Emily for a playmate and Sarah to fill that empty spot in her heart and life. The scenes with Jessie, Emily, and Gavin are delightful. Another to bloom is Liam’s young brother Davis as the classy, beautiful Laura responds to his overtures. However, the most captivating of all is the reluctant but undeniable connection that develops between Liam and Sarah. The physical desire burns bright but many other aspects of love grow to create a bond strong and enduring that proves unbreakable in times of trouble.

The many supporting characters add depth and a slew of emotions to this engaging story. Many of them are salt-of-the-earth, hard working, neighborly people, with just a few “old-soreheads” mixed in.

Liz Flaherty develops the plot subtly as she brings the characters to life is such a way that they seem like one’s friends and neighbors. She also develops some despicable antagonists with Carl Ransom being the vilest of them. He is a formidable foe that seems to have no conscience. What he does to Emily is unforgiveable.

The title Home to the Singing Trees fits this story beautifully. Dr. Liam Kissick’s house becomes a home that sings with contentment, joy, love, and caring as Sarah Mary Williamson weaves her own special, down-to-earth magic. Joyous reading!