LaVyrle Spencer, known for her “heartrending slices of Americana”* writes of how love can be more special the second time around in this New York Times bestseller.
It is 1916 and Roberta Jewett is surprised to find that her hometown of Camden, Maine, considers a divorced woman little more than a prostitute. Condemned by her mother and scorned by neighbors, she nonetheless perseveres in her struggle to forge a good life for her girls and herself. Behaving like no “respectable” woman would, she gets a job as a county nurse, learns to drive, and buys her very own Model T.
Embittered by her painful marriage to an unfaithful husband, she has no intention of being any man's victim again. So Roberta is taken aback to find the widowed carpenter Gabriel Farley has somehow found his way into her heart. And in the ultimate test of will and devotion, she must depend on the man she has grown to love—and summon the courage to stand up to an entire town.
“[LaVyrle Spencer] knows how to tug at readers’ heartstrings.”—*Publishers Weekly
A resilient divorcee returns with her three daughters to her childhood hometown; a lonely widower makes the rough journey out of the shell of his own isolated soul; and the perennially bestselling Spencer (Home Song) doesn't miss a beat as she expertly gives them a second chance at love. First, however, they have to suffer. It's the summer of 1916 when Roberta Jewett returns to Camden, Maine, after 18 years. As a divorcee, she finds herself a social outcast and even her mother thinks she's a tramp (besides which she wants to work, of all things, and own a car). What makes her really mad, however, are men. She doesn't like them, having learned, she thinks, all there is to know from her disastrous marriage. But it turns out that the brutes can be both worse and better than she has ever dreamed. On the one hand, there's Elfred, her lecherous brother-in-law, who can hardly keep his mitts off her; on the other hand, there's Gabriel Farley, the widowed carpenter, and she can hardly keep her mind off him. From the very start, Gabe and Roberta are bickering (``Don't you laugh at me, Mr. Farley!.... I shall own a motorcar, come hell or high water.''). Then, little by little, without really trying, they become friends (as do their children). Her hatred of men wanes, his obsession with his dead wife becomes muted and their attraction heats up with the summer. But when Roberta is brutally raped, all her hopes are threatened. Will she be able to pick up the pieces? Can she face family secrets and challenge the town's benighted hypocrisy? Will Gabe do the right thing? Spencer, famous for her heart-rending slices of Americana, delivers the goods again. First serial to Readers Digest; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections.