by Barbara Morgenroth
Published October 7, 2010
This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
When 15 year old Neal Marchal finds her neighbor murdered, she knows who did it. The why is the secret the family has been keeping forever. While Paul took an interest in Neal’s musical education and taught her how to play the fiddle, he took her fatherless stepbrother, Joe, under his wing and all that implies. Joe’s rage has always been barely beneath the surface and years ago, he pushed Neal under a tractor as a warning. The reminder to never reveal the secret is her limp.
While Joe was gone for five years, Neal made music a private and central part of her life. Now she has an opportunity to sing and perform but the threat remains even if Joe is a thousand miles away. Neal finds refuge in the family of the young man who wants her to join his band. It’s like a dream to live with people who love each other. Neal blossoms. She has everything to live for—music, performing and a growing affection for the young man who pulled her to safety.
Then Joe comes home. Neal knows it’s just a matter of time because she told. Joe’s going to finish what he started 8 years ago. But this time Neal vows the outcome will be different.
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This is a very realistic story, which in some ways will break your heart. In others, you'll love it.
I'm not counting this as a spoiler, because the blurb mentions it: Neal's stepbrother, Joe (evil boy if ever there was one), pushed her under a tractor. The step-family figured that since she could walk, there was no need to look into ways to help heal her leg. It's left Neal with a bad limp, and a huge dose of self-consciousness. Her life hasn't gotten any better since then.
There's a lot going on in this book, but I don't want to go into it. Too many spoilers. It reads quickly, and you'll want to push through to learn what happens.