This book didnt reel me in from page one; it was hard to get into the story because of the hate and malice dripping off the opening pages. This is definitely not the fare one expects from Dorothy Garlock.
The animosity between the sets of half-siblings is realistic; I can certainly see that one set of children could hate the other set. After all, there was a large lumbering company that belonged to all 4 of them.
Dory, youngest of the 4, became pregnant and her intended was killed before they could marry. Her half-brothers Milo and Louis do not let her forget it and they constantly remind everyone they know of her shame.
Dory is closest to her brother James; hes a 24 year-old crack lumberman. Its the only reason Milo and Louis tolerate him; they could not operate the business without him. He gets more work out of 10 of his men than they can get out of 20 of theirs.
Ben Waller sets the story in motion by arriving at the Callahan home; hes been hired by Louis to set up and train others to run a steam donkey. He arrives during a storm with his 16 year-old daughter in tow. Odette, a blond, blue-eyed girl, is deaf and extremely shy.
This is a dark and complicated story line. It isnt one of my favorites, but it is a page-turner. Everyone has secrets and Dorys is the only one out in the open; we learn others as the story continues.
I learned to admire Dorys ability to live in such horrible surroundings; however, she really had no other choice. If you have any doubt as to the meaning of dysfunctional family read this book; you will have no lingering doubts after finishing it.
1. Midnight Blue (1988)
2. Nightrose (1990) VG
3. Sins of Summer (1994)
4. The Listening Sky (1994)
5. Larkspur (1997)
6. Sweetwater (1990)
Garlock ( Tenderness ) brings to atmospheric, energetic life a hard-edged, meaty story of passion, sin and redemption. Branded a slut in her Idaho logging community, unwed mother Dory Callahan tends the homestead for her beloved brother James and brutal half-brothers Milo and Louis. When mysterious Ben Waller arrives at the logging camp accompanied by his deaf daughter Odette, he quickly learns the sad history of Dory's brief affair with the sensitive son of a rival logging family, an affair that left her pregnant and her lover dead. Despite her past, Ben is won over by Dory's maternal sweetness, which also works wonders on the fragile, lovely Odette, who is just beginning to blossom into womanhood. Fearing a spate of savage killings of whores and Indian women in the area, Ben and James share protective watch over the women, foiling rape attempts by timber scum and much skullduggery from the vile, sadistic Louis and Milo and their cabal of "river rats." As secrets and true identities are revealed, conflicts resolved and resolutions reached, the twisting turns of the well-paced tale come full circle. For those who like their romances dark, emotionally complex and brimful of grit, Garlock holds the reins masterfully.