Leona Dawson ran away from her brother’s abuse to live with her sister. When her sister got sick and died, she stayed to help Andy, her brother-n-law, with the kids, chores and run the garage on Route 66. Her brother fed rumors to the people in Sayre, Oklahoma. Everyone believed that she was living in sin with Andy, but she didn’t want to tie him down to a loveless marriage, either.
Two days after running into Andy at the garage, H. L. Yates got a horse and went for a ride in the woods. He came across a sick skunk and followed it until he could get a good shot at it. Unfortunately, the rabid animal got his teeth into Andy before Yates could kill it. It was imperative to get Andy to the hospital in Oklahoma City, a three to four hour drive, as soon as possible. Leona was left with the children to wait while Yates took him.
Later that night the mysterious Texan, Yates, returned with a cot and a few of his belongings. Andy had to stay at the hospital to get a series of shots for the next 6 weeks. In the mean time, Yates agreed to stay at the garage and watch over Andy’s family until he is back on his feet again. Leona wasn’t sure about having this stranger staying in the garage, but if Andy trusts him, then so will she. Once word got out that Leona is ‘shacking up’ with another man at Andy’s place, it didn’t take long for more rumors to arise.
It was a good thing that Yates came when he did, because, as soon as Virgil, Leona’s abusive brother, found out that Andy was in the hospital sick, he threatened to take the girls away and force Leona to marry someone he deemed good for her. Yates found himself not only protective of Andy’s family, but also enjoying the responsibility. He eventually realized that he would never be able to leave Leona or the rest of the family behind when Andy returned.
This book was such a refreshing read for me. I really don’t know how else to describe it. The characters in the story were very real, especially the children. The younger girl reminded me very much of my own 5 year old…always asking questions, and repeating everything they hear.
Then there is a little fellow named, Deke, who would give his arm and a leg for Leona. He brought a little humor to the story, and he was good to have when they needed someone else to watch the garage . I enjoyed the conversations he had with Yates about Leona. Deke is a sweet little man.
Leona was carrying a load far too heavy for just one person. She put herself in one prison, with the people she loves, to keep herself from another. She needed rescuing and Yates was just the hero to do it.
H. L. Yates (yes, that is his full name) starts out to be this mysterious stranger. For a man who is used to being alone, he quickly learns to adjust to being around other people. I enjoyed watching him gradually reveal himself and grow closer to Leona and the girls. He was definitely a hero many women dream about! *G*
MOTHER ROAD isn’t as nearly cut and dried as I make it sound, though. It’s emotional, but not too heavy. It’s deep and caring, but not dark. I could just put myself out there on that highway and feel the breeze while watching the dirt devils dance on the campground. Ahhhh…yes, it was a refreshing read for me.
Jennifer Ebmeyer, July 2003
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