Rhys Hazard was seventeen when the accident that cost several lives occurred. Brina (Eiler) Sullivan lost her brother in the accident. Rhys carries the burden of his guilt with him. When released from prison, he leaves the state and plans never to return.
Rhys built North Star from one broken down 18-wheeler to a huge corporation. He uses his wealth to fund charities for ex-convicts, and anonymously funds others. After a flood wipes out the majority of his hometown, Rhys buys out a fruit-processing warehouse to start North Star Northwest. His corporation is responsible for resurrecting the economy of the area. His friend Hank Dunnigan is on his way to Osuma, WA when he has a serious auto accident. He suffers severe injuries and thus cannot handle the start up.
Rhys knows he is the only one who can handle the complex process of getting North Star Northwest up and running. He goes to Osuma and stays in the bed and breakfast Brina owns. Even though he has changed his name, he has to face up to his past. Brina is divorced from his younger brother Johnny and the mother of two children.
Brina has to decide if she can forgive Rhys for the destruction of her home life that occurred after her brother died. Her father gave up on life, and eventually died, leaving her orphaned. In the process of spending time with Rhys, they fall in love.
This book was realistic in depicting the emotional aftermath of loss. Everyone had to come to terms with their experiences, and Rhys had to learn how to both accept responsibility for his actions as well as forgive himself for them. His family relationship was shattered, and he had to decide if or how he wanted to repair them.
As the book progresses, the characters grow, and the depth of emotion revealed is touching. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and if this is indicative of her writing, I will definitely be reading more. This book is a keeper!
Nancy Riggins-Hume, July 2003