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Now, on with the show!
I made the decision to buy LIFELINE ECHOES after reading Kay Springsteen’s blog post The Town Made the Characters. I’d only read about half of it when I not only decided I had to have this book, but actually left in the middle of reading the post to go buy it! Although there she mentions both LIFELINE ECHOES and ELUSIVE ECHOES, I headed right for LIFELINE ECHOES because it’s the first in sequence of the two titles.
And … just, wow.
If you can believe it (and looking back, I cannot), I didn’t even read the blurb before I dove in. What followed, then, was the beautiful unfurling of a heartfelt, heart wrenching relationship between Sandy and Mick, a firefighter who whispered promises they both knew he couldn’t keep as his life crept out of reach under the rubble of an earthquake. The 23 hours spent with Mick changed Sandy’s life—changed her soul—and his loss sends her to find solace in the wild, rambling state he once called home. There she settles, in a little Wyoming town at the foot of the Rockies, to start over, but not without Mick. He remains always, always in her heart.
It’s for that reason, then, when prodigal son Ryan McGee comes tearing home my heart did a funny little dip. Moving on? Oh, no. Not after the powerful connection Sandy shared with Mick! But as captivated as Ryan was with Sandy—a fiery bartender and proprietor of her own establishment—he, too, kept his heart locked in the past. The “Angel” he lost from his own life is a permanent part of him—one he’s not willing to share or release. He clutches her memory close, an anchor to his past that keeps him from moving forward.
But that’s only part of the wall Ryan builds between himself and Sandy. Years ago he fled town on the heels of scandal, and however charming the townsfolk of Orson’s Folly, some of their roots run bitter, deep, and thick as thieves. They’ve neither forgotten nor forgiven why or how Ryan left, and in the fallout of his return, his feelings for Sandy land her in the middle of a mess he just can’t bring himself to explain. Those doors remained stubbornly closed—less a few glimpses of what might be—until the breathtaking moment where love, life, and loss converge and threaten to take it all away.
There and then—truly, exquisitely—only the answer remains.
LIFELINE ECHOES is beautifully written. I had the fortune, years ago, of walking the same bit of country where this story is set and I have to say I feel as if I’ve just been back. The imagery is stunning, the characters as real as any ever written. The flashbacks to Sandy’s time with Mick rip at the heart, and without fail they left me in tears. In fact, I did a lot of flat-out sobbing throughout this story, sometimes so thoroughly I thought my breath had left my chest.
As the story grows, so will the reader. LIFELINE ECHOES has an extraordinary ability to capture the heart, quietly filling anything cracked or broken inside with hope and healing. To call it a heartwarming read would be an understatement, but any single attempt to summarize it would be a folly in itself. There are a great many words one could apply to this story, but there’s only one way to give it full justice: read it.
It’s just that good.