Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Montana Cherries by Kim Law

Dani Wilde’s life has been on hold for the last 14 years while she has kept house and looked after her father and brothers on their family farm after the sudden death of her mother during Dani’s first semester of college. But with the college graduation of her youngest brother, Dani plans to move back to New York City (where she’d been when her mother died) and pick up where she left off.

The plan is to stay through the summer cherry harvest when all her brothers return home, say her goodbyes, and attempt to restart her interrupted life. And then, in walks her older brother’s best friend, Ben Denton, the love of her life, who took her virginity 10 years ago and left for a high-profile, celebrity lifestyle as a fashion and “fashionable” photographer. But Ben has not returned home alone. He’s got his newly-discovered daughter, Haley, with him and no clue about how to proceed as a single father to a four-year-old girl.

The feelings between Dani and Ben are still strong, and when Ben and Haley are welcomed into the Wilde family with open arms, complications begin to develop. As harvest time closes in and Dani prepares to depart for New York, the truth and dysfunctionality of the family begin to come to light.

The characters in the story are all suffering and trying to heal from the impact of horrible mothers: the Wilde siblings, their father, Ben, and Haley whose mother kept her existence a secret until she dumped the child on Ben’s doorstep and abruptly left. All are victims of women that never should have had children. Each is trying to cope in their different ways under their different circumstances. There are some very heartbreaking moments.

The romance between Ben and Dani (both as their younger selves and in the present situation) is compelling and keeps the pages turning. I continued to wonder what the final outcome was going to be.

There is tension between family members rooted in their past but there is forgiveness and reconciliation as well making for some additional drama and emotional storytelling.

Altogether, Montana Cherries is unique in its premise and satisfying in its resolution. It is a lovely start to what I hope is a series featuring each of the Wilde siblings.

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