With Heart

With Hope

With Song

After The Parade
by Dorothy Garlock
(Warner, $6.99, PG) ISBN 0-446-60811-4
Have you ever wondered what the future will hold for the hero and heroine after you close the cover of a book? In Dorothy Garlock's latest romance, you have the opportunity to find out.

After The Parade continues the story of Johnny and Kathleen Henry, featured in Garlock's With Heart. It is now 1945 and Johnny is returning to the small town of Rawlings, Oklahoma, after spending four years serving with the Seabees in the South Pacific during World War II. The entire town has turned out to welcome the returning heroes, but the one person Johnny secretly hopes to see is not there.

Kathleen Henry has spent the war years as a "Rosie the Riveter", working in a defense plant in Oklahoma City. Now that the war has ended, Kathleen has returned to Rawlings to face the probable end of her marriage to Johnny.

An end that originated in a heartbreaking tragedy that struck the Henry's before the war. Their baby daughter, Mary Rose, died 48 hours after her birth. She was born with a birth defect that made it impossible for her to survive and Johnny is convinced that his tainted family line is the source of the defect.

Johnny decides it's best to let Kathleen go, so she can find someone with which to have the family she's always wanted. Those of you who are familiar with Johnny know that once he gets an idea in his head, it's impossible to shake it loose. No matter how hard she tries, Kathleen cannot change Johnny's mind.

Kathleen and Johnny continue to live apart, each waiting for the other to make the first move towards divorce, unaware that a stalker has followed Kathleen from Oklahoma City. When Kathleen is kidnapped, Johnny is forced to face his turbulent emotions, and the possibility it may be too late to save his marriage.

In each of Dorothy Garlock's depression era books, I have been struck by the rich detail she uses. References to music, movies, dress, even the smallest items of daily living, bring her stories alive. Many of the characters that appeared in Garlock's previous books make an appearance here, seamlessly joining any loose ends. Characters so real, I know I'll miss them.

If I have one minor complaint with After the Parade it's with how quickly the ordinarily stubborn Johnny sets his fears aside concerning his daughter's birth defect, after just a brief consultation with the town doctor.

But I've waited for this book from the moment I finished With Heart and I was not disappointed. Although you could read After The Parade on its own, I strongly recommend getting acquainted with Kathleen and Johnny in With Heart. In fact, if you haven't read any of the series, I can't imagine what you're waiting for. It doesn't get much better than this.

--Karen Lynch

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