On a hot summer day in 1932, Andy Connors, who owns a garage that serves Route 66, finds himself in major trouble: He's been bitten by a rabid skunk.
The author of A Place Called Rainwater (and dozens more) is back with another sweetly entertaining historical novel. Widowed Andy Connors, his single sister-in-law Leona and his two young daughters run a gas station alongside the famed Route 66 (the "Mother Road") in Depression-era Sayre, Okla. They cater to families fleeing the dust bowl for the orange groves of California, give a helping hand to the occasional tramp and enjoy a peaceful and happy life until one sweltering June day, when a rabid skunk bites Andy, leaving him unable to care for the family under his protection. Enter Yates, a mysterious man whose life Andy saved years ago, who passes the garage at just the right moment. He steps in to take over while Andy is recovering in the hospital, and finds that his ramblin' feet are very happy by the fireside with a beautiful woman and two impish children. But all of Sayre doesn't feel as he does. The town's religious busybodies, led by Leona's bullying, fanatically religious brother Virgil, have their own ideas about a woman who lives with a man without benefit of marriage even if their relationship is entirely innocent and they are determined to put her back in her place by any means necessary. Leona's prim and proper ways keep romance on the back burner, and Yates, a cowboy Prince Charming, saves the day perhaps one time too many, but this is a gently engaging tale, spiced with Depression-era detail.