After I Dream

Before I Sleep

Caught

A Conard County Reckoning

Cowboy Comes Home

A Fateful Choice

Involuntary Daddy

Mistletoe Kisses

Nighthawk

As Sue Civil-Brown:

Chasing Rainbow

Letting Loose

 
Snow in September by Rachel Lee
(Mira, $5.99, PG) ISBN 1-55166-554-9
**
To say things are going badly for Meg Williams would be an enormous understatement. Her husband Bill died in an auto accident on the snowy mountain road near their Colorado home just eight months earlier. Meg is overwhelmed with guilt, since it was a nasty argument that caused Bill to race from their house and into the storm in the first place. Now their daughter Allie has run away and there is good reason to believe she may be suicidal.

If that isnít enough to deal with, Megís mother Vivian came to visit after Billís death and has never left. Vivian disapproves of everything Meg does and is not shy about letting her know. The atmosphere in the Williams household is poisonous.

Add to the mix Allieís sixteen-year-old friend Matt. Mattís dad abuses him repeatedly, at one point nearly beating him to death with a baseball bat. But Matt refuses to do anything about it. Heís afraid that if he leaves home his dad will take out his aggression on his mom.

Sheriff Earl Sanders has been a shoulder to lean on for Meg since Billís death. Earl has always had feelings for Meg, but since Bill was also his best friend, heís kept those feelings safely hidden. Meg and Earl become closer as the search for Allie continues, but her guilt over Billís death and a painful secret cause her to repeatedly push him away.

Snow in September is a depressing read. Iíve mentioned in previous reviews that I enjoy a fair amount of angst now and again. But when I put this book down, I hesitated to pick it up again. I was unwilling to return to such a dark story.

Better character development might have made all the difference. Meg is not a sympathetic heroine; sheís self-absorbed and whiny. Even Earl expresses his frustration at her actions by wishing he could shake her until her teeth rattled. Normally, that type of thinking is not what I like to see in a hero. But believe me, he wasnít overreacting and I was ready to join him.

Details on Earlís background are sketchy, as well. Aside from a difficult childhood, we discover little about the man. Why did he spend so much time with Bill, Meg and Allie over the years, instead of making a life for himself? It seemed a bit unusual a man of his age would have had no previous serious relationships.

Author Rachel Leeís name on a cover normally makes a book an auto-buy for me. But the overwhelmingly melodramatic plot of Snow in September make this one difficult to recommend.

--Karen Lynch


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