Hawk's Woman

Until You

The Price of Honor
by Janis Reams Hudson
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1332, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-24332-4
Grady Lewis is back in town for the funerals of his father and brother. Rachel Wilder, his fatherís associate in the veterinary business, is almost as devastated as Grady by the plane accident that killed the two. She deeply admired the widowed Dr. Lewis and how he cared for all creatures, including his brain-damaged son, David. And Rachel had deeply loved Grady years ago. But that was before he left town with a small boy that he claimed as his son. Rachel could never forgive Grady for fathering a child with another woman after spending years being in love with Rachel.

On the other hand, when Grady returns she falls in love with his son, Cody, who is a miniature version of Grady. Then Grady and Rachel discover that Dr. Lewis left some of his business to Grady and some to Rachel. Grady makes the decision to return home for good even though he worries about the possible gossip his son will have to endure.

When Grady resumes life in his small hometown he has to prove himself to more people than Rachel. The Wilder family is less than enthused when they see Rachel is getting back with Grady again. The sheriff, Codyís other grandfather, certainly is unhappy. Grady doesnít back down from any of the challenges and ends up beaten up by some of the sheriffís men.

Rachel is outraged by what happens and forced to admit she never stopped loving Grady. However, Grady also realizes that she did stop trusting him. She may still be hurt that he would betray her. But he is equally hurt that she never bothered to listen to him when everything blew up years ago.

Rachelís refusal to listen to Grady actually didnít bother me much at first. But as the story continues, it becomes clear that Rachelís inability to listen to Grady long ago had a huge impact on their lives. The author sets up the problem skillfully. Since the reader doesnít know Grady well at first, it seems natural to assume Rachel was right to feel so betrayed. Who wouldnít be angry that your boyfriend was sleeping with someone else the whole time? By the end of the book, though, the author has demonstrated that Grady is an honorable man and Rachelís initial rejection of him was wrong. However, since the reader has sided with Rachel at first, it's hard to condemn her.

While the authorís ability to change the readerís opinion is nicely done, the revelation of the real truth doesnít work as well. Somehow the conclusion seems a little too neat and not quite convincing. It is hard to totally believe that the boyís mother would do what she apparently did. But maybe you should read it for yourself to decide.

--Irene Williams

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