Desert Isle Keeper
The Edge Of Heaven
This book wasn’t perfect. There was a thing or two that I didn’t love, and perhaps a few more that might bother others. But there was no doubt in my mind that The Edge Of Heaven was a keeper, despite those little imperfections. The plot was compelling, the love story moving, and I didn’t want the book to end.
Emma McRae is coming home. Within hours of being battered by the man she thought she loved, she returns to her adoptive parents’ home. But her family is on their way to be with Emma’s aunt, who is going through a difficult and dangerous pregnancy. So Emma doesn’t reveal the reason for her homecoming; she doesn’t want to tear her beloved parents away from someone who might need them even more than she. When the family leaves, she finds herself alone in the home that was her refuge between a rough childhood and her new problems. But then a stranger appears, claiming to know her adoptive father Sam. Emma trusts him instinctively, and soon finds herself relying on a man she’s known only a few days. And before long, she begins to suspect she may be falling in love with a man who has as many secrets as she does.
John “Rye” Ryan has been searching a long time for a man named Sam McRae, a man who has a lot to answer for. He doesn’t mean to gain the confidence of Sam’s beautiful daughter, doesn’t mean to come close, but when he sees the way she reacts to a phone call from her ex-boyfriend, he knows he can’t leave her alone and unprotected. And confidences quickly turn to trust, and then to respect, and then to something more. Meanwhile, his body is busy reacting to Emma in ways it has no business reacting, especially if her father is the Sam McRae he’s looking for. He’s sure he has no business becoming involved with a woman as young and innocent as Emma seems. But his body doesn’t seem to be taking orders from his brain anymore, and neither does his heart.
Emma and Rye are terrific characters. Neither one is perfect, but they’ve both been through their own private hells and come out as good, caring human beings. Watching Emma deal with feelings of shame and responsibility over being beaten, and try to reconcile these irrational emotions with what she logically knows to be true – that she, as the victim, was not at fault – is both heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. Meanwhile, Rye seems to be the kind of clichéd hero who’s condemned himself for something that he thinks is horrific, but that most people would feel is understandable under the circumstances. But his past really does walk the line, and as he confronts it, the reader must also come to accept what he’s done. Slowly and deliberately, the reader comes to accept his past with open eyes, even as Emma does. Neither of them is a saint, but both are strong, compassionate, and sympathetic characters of the type that stay with the reader long after the last page is read and the book is closed.
Even though this book is definitely a Desert Isle Keeper for me, I feel compelled to warn you that there are a few plot points that will raise red flags for some. One is the long separation, an absolute pet peeve of mine. It exists here, but is handled very quickly – and not dismissively. While I felt that the book lost a little bit of steam because of it, that momentum was quickly regained in the reunion. The other thing that is a problem for many readers is an age difference. There’s a significant one here, and it definitely becomes an issue for the characters, although it is handled very well. While there are quite a few years between the births of these characters, I think you will be convinced, as I was, that they deserve each other and are meant for each other so completely that those numbers really do become insignificant in the end.
In addition to the wonderful characters, and a story that doesn’t shy away from very serious issues, this book features a fast-paced plot that is moving in more ways than one. Lots of ground gets covered in this story; it almost seems like too much. But it fits together so tightly that the reader is left with a sense of completeness, and a longing to hear even more.
In this book I’ve found a DIK, and in Teresa Hill I’ve found a new auto-buy. I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.