A stand alone novel, published in June 2002.
She had a perfect life. Then she got a real life....
For nearly twenty years, quiet, unassuming Lillian Manville has devoted herself to her self-made billionaire husband -- and enjoyed a luxurious life of splendid homes, trips, jewels, and clothes. But when James Manville dies in a plane crash, Lillian's grief is compounded by a shocking mystery: all that Jimmie has left to her is an old farmhouse in tiny Calburn, Virginia. Now, Lillian's unexpected circumstances are leading her to a made-over life in Calburn, an exciting business--and a sweet new love with a handsome local man. But will she have the courage to unveil the truth surrounding a past scandal and the loss of her husband? The answers may be as close as the mulberry tree in her yard -- and Lillian must dig deep within herself to fight the secrets and lies that threaten to uproot the past she cherished and the future she treasures....This lush bestseller shines with the passion, intrigue, and warmth that is Jude Deveraux at her best.
I though I was reading a quiet novel, where a woman has to struggle after becoming widowed and left with almost nothing, to build up a new life for her self. And at first it was just that. And I admired her, I liked what she was doing. But something just wasn’t right with what happened. Her husband left her a quest, and she didn’t get to it. But then things started happening, and she had to find the truth after all, and great surprises were revealed. I am not going to recapitulate the story, you’ll just have to find out yourself.
But I liked it, a lot. Lillian/Bailey has to start a new life, learn how to fit in a very small town, where everybody knows everything about everybody else. And if not, they will find out in five minutes. But the town is riddled with secrets, and Bailey needs to learn them all to get to the heart of her own husbands past. She struggles with just becoming a wife and mother and nothing else, or starting to live for herself, and what she really wants in life. She is not stupid, she was just plucked out of her life at the age of 17 and married, and pampered for the next 20 years, so she doesn’t know anything practical. She has always been plain and plump, and not fitting in, and now she has a new nose and a new figure, and men notice her.
I am not so sure about Matt. Does he really fall in love with Bailey for who she is, or because she is convenient, pretty and an awesome cook? Nothing like his first wife?
Bit by bit you learn more about the towns inhabitants, and what happened all those years ago. Even though there is some action and a lot of intrigue, it still feels like a nice quiet read. I liked it a lot. And if you are one of those people who love to cook and preserve and everything, you will most certainly like this book, as that is what Bailey loves to do the most.