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Monday, July 27, 2009

Man with a Past by Kay Stockham

Man with a Past by Kay Stockham
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full (298 pages)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Tiger Lily

Will the truth set him free?

Joe Brody: Out of prison but still serving time---all because no one in his hometown believes he's innocent. He'd leave the place in his dust, but his father---the only family he has left---needs him.

Ashley Cade: Widowed with a toddler to take care of. She's moved here to make a fresh start---but being accepted into the inner circles of a close-knit town isn't easy. Especially after she hires the town pariah as a handyman.

Joe and Ashley. The attraction between them is powerful. But is it enough to overcome the whispers that Ashley has begun to hear?

He’s got a reputation that he can’t shake. She’s in desperate need of home improvement help. He needs her in order to heal. She needs a Man with a Past in order to move on.

Every once in a while, that one book comes along that stays with you. You think about it long after the last page is turned. A Man with a Past is one of those books.

Ms. Stockham writes characters you can relate to. They have big hearts and circumstances they didn’t create, but they have to overcome. With the turn of each page, you feel like you’re really there in the house with Ashley and Joe. You see his problems and want to help him heal. You can’t help but cheer for Joe and Ashley to make it.

The reason for his incarceration tugs at the heartstrings. He’s wrongly convicted of harming his child. Although it’s hard to imagine, some parents can’t deal with the stress of small children. Shaken baby syndrome is hard to stomach, but it’s real. Ms. Stockham puts this issue into terms everyone can understand. Her writing becomes a powerful tool to bring awareness to this problem, but she puts a spin on it that shows that stress doesn’t mean it results in pain.

I liked that Ashley has her reservations about Joe, but she’d willing to look past them in order to see her dream of the bed and breakfast come to fruition. Even when she really shouldn’t have believed in him, her faith held strong. I liked that Joe simply wanted a fresh start. He believes that his past is his past and he needs to move on. I loved that he moved on while beginning again with Ashley.

The moral of the story is very powerful as well: sometimes all we have is faith, so you can’t discount your faith.

If you want a moving read that sticks with you, then a Man with a Past is the novel for you. I give this book the LASR Best Book rating.