Book Review: "Autumn Blue" by Karen Harter
Sidney is a single mother of three kids, who has just moved into a new home. However she can't fully enjoy their new surroundings because her teenage son, Ty, has run away. Unfortunately he has a police record due to a robbery and the police are onto him. Sidney believes her son is innocent and does her hardest to make him turn to the right path no matter what it takes even with the deputy sheriff trying to vie for her attention. Meanwhile her neighbor Millard is an elderly man who's daughter insists that he is too old to take care of himself. Trying to prove her wrong, against his wishes, he soon is swept up in the affairs of Sidney's family and becomes a surrogate grandfather. This makeshift family learns to bond together as they go through a time of learning to trust and have faith.
I thought this was an excellent book. The story is so well developed that I felt like I was watching a movie instead of just reading the story. The lead characters were all very real and I could understand why all of them acted the way they did. Sidney is just a concerned mother who wants what's best for her son. You feel her frustration with trying to understand Ty and her worry when he keeps running away. Her story about finding a father figure with Jack was funny and sad. Ty is an angry teenager but you can sense why he keeps rebelling. He's not obnoxious but you can feel his anger and pain. I really liked Millard. He reminded me of the brothers in Secondhand Lions. He was crusty at first but eventually caved into the family that had showed him the affection his own daughter didn't. I didn't like Alex at first, especially with the way he barged into Sidney's bedroom. However his character too had a story behind the actions that helped to explain who he really was. There are scenes that make you laugh and then you turn the page and want to cry. The story is not preachy at all yet still puts out a message that family and trust is important. The only problem I had with this book was that Sidney had named her youngest daughter Sissy. I don't know if this name is that popular but it sounds degrading to be called a "sissy" all the time. It makes the character sound really weak since that word is used as an insult most of the time. But since Sidney's daughters are mostly in the background, this isn't such a big deal.
This is the second novel for Karen Harter and she has done a superb job with this book. I highly recommend it for fans of women's fiction who enjoy a moving story with realistic characters.
Autumn Blue by Karen Harter is published by Center Street (2007)