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Friday, August 12, 2011

Changeless as the Heavens by Barri Bryan

Changeless as the Heavens by Barri Bryan
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Historical (Post WWII)
Length: Short Story (131 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Camellia

For three years Cara Williams's husband has been missing in action and presumed dead. She's moved on with her life to form new relationships and make new commitments. As World War Two draws to a close, she is shocked to learn that her husband is not only very much alive, he's coming home.

How does she justify to him that she has turned his old homestead into a business site? How can she explain that she now has a darling little toddler who calls her Mommie? What does she tell him about her relationship with his cousin Evan? Most of all how does she deal with the resurrection of emotions and passion she had thought dead and long since buried?

“What war doesn’t destroy it changes.” Yet, the hope that true love will survive it all abides deep in the heart. However, when Randall Williams returns after a four-year absence, he finds his once clingy wife who couldn’t make a decision is now a shrewd, successful business woman who stepped up to meet the need when the people she loved needed to be taken care of. She’d survived and thrived while making a life and a living without him.

Cara, believing Randall dead, had met and continues to meet problems day-by-day and makes choices about how to handle them—some good choices, some not so good. She tries to deal fairly with the tangle of family members in the business and in her personal life. But when her world caves in, she realizes she has not always done so honestly—sometime to shield them from hurt and other times because it seemed expedient.

Cara and Randall reconnect with a desire to make love that flares to life like a live coal having gasoline thrown on it, but trust is another thing entirely. Both their actions in the past four years have changed them. They are not the same Cara and Randall that married and had two sons before Randall left her without saying goodbye.

The other characters, all of whom have a lot of baggage, stir up conflicts and hard feelings that assail the tenuous new connection Cass and Randall have made. Evan, the cousin Randall dislikes, is Cara’s business partner and ‘more’—the ‘more’ Evan wants to keep. He is a weak but dangerous man who wreaks havoc on Cara’s life when he doesn’t get his way. He uses his influence and even lies to control other family members’ decisions in an effort to get what he wants. Randall’s mother Elaine is another strong influence that is not always in agreement with Cara. But the darling baby Nancy and the sons, Danny and Paul add a touch of that special something that children, in their struggle to understand adults, makes adults try to set the world right for them.

Changeless as the Heavens is not a long story, but it is crammed full of emotions that touch the heart at time and sets off a rage and ‘how-dare-you feeling at other times. The story reveals so much about life at the end of WWII and how people had to find their balance in a changed world and move on with living and loving.

Barri Bryan’s ‘spot-on’ revelation of emotional, economic, and societal upheavals after the war makes Changeless as the Heavens compelling. She shows that even though youth and innocence are lost, expectations and the promise of a bright future spring to life amid all the changes. Love perseveres and wins.