Cilla McGowan, granddaughter to Hollywood legend Janet Hardy, returns to her deceased grandmother’s dilapidated summer house in Virginia to start reparing it. Cilla, also a previous Hollywood star, uses her skills she learnt working with her ex-husband on a construction crew to repair the mansion to its former glory.
She meets next door neighbor Ford Sawyer, a comic book writer, when he appears at the farm. Ford asks her to stop breaking up the house, under the impression that she is a vigalant who wants to cash in on Janet’s name by selling pieces online. He charms her, but Cilla is desperately afraid to start a relationship because of her own crap track record, and her family’s as well. Ford’s optimistic and balanced personality brings to Cilla the stability she so desperately needs.
Cilla is welcomed by nearly everyone in town. However, not everyone in Virginia is happy to see Cilla back. A boy who was paralyzed in the car accident that killed Cilla’s uncle, Jimmy Hennessy’s father appears frequently at Cilla’s house and neighborhood to abuse her for returning.
During her search of the attic, Cilla finds letters written to Janet by a mystery man shortly before her death. Obviously love letters, they end nastily that leads Cilla to believe that Janet was most likely pregnant with his child, even though the autopsy never reported a pregnancy. She confides in Ford, and hides the letters at his house. Steve, Cilla’s ex-husband, appears, and she, Ford and he get on wonderfully. Steve is seriously injured one night in her barn when someone attacks him. While Steve recovers at the hospital, Ford and Hennessy are suspects for his attacks. Both are initially cleared of charges, leaving no clue to who the attacker might be.
Vandalism on the Little Farm increases, and the police still have no idea who is responsible. Hennessy is sent to a mental hospital after he attacks Cilla, clearing him of the attacks that follow. Cathy Morrow, mother to one of Ford’s school friends, reveals that her father in law was at one of the parties Janet hosted, making him in Cilla’s mind a possible candidate to be Janet’s lover, even though that still doesn’t explain the vandalism, as he is also long dead.
Cilla decides to hold a party at her almost completed house, which coincides with her engagement to Ford, after he manages to get her to accept. After the party, Cathy returns, apparently to search for her missing wedding ring. She spikes Cilla’s wine with pills, exactly the way she did to kill Janet, and reveals everything – that her own husband had an affair with Janet, and even after breaking it off, Cathy couldn’t forgive Janet, killing her in the end. Ford arrives in time to rip Cathy off Cilla, and Cilla saves herself by bringing up the poisonous mixture now in her system.
I enjoyed the book thoroughly. I sometimes feel that all Nora Roberts’ books follow exactly the same storyline, but there is always a new spin, and well developed characters. I am sure no other romantic suspense writer is so adapt at creating people with such depth. Ford may just be one of my favorite male characters of all time. He is so sweet, nerdy and funny. He is amazingly well grounded even with his success, and the sweet relationship with his parents is another amazing addition to the storyline. He is the perfect match for Cilla, helping her to see the positive in every situation, and bringing the balance to her life she has lacked through her crazy childhood. I had so much fun reading about Spock – I wish I could make him real and introduce him to my puppy, because they share so many characteristics. If you like romantic suspense, give this book a try!