Whitaker House Publishers
Emma Browning is the owner of the only boardinghouse in Little Hickman Creek, Kentucky, and has been the proprietor for ten years. She plays housekeeper to several rowdy, uncouth characters, but lets no one past the tough exterior of a hardened facade. After enduring years of endless abuse from her father, Ezra she has been careful to ward off anyone and anything that tries to get past the impenetrable armor that stands guard of her heart. Will she ever let anyone in?
A new boarder shows up at her door in the form of the preacher, Jonathan Atkins. Will she be able to see past what she believes is his ministerial obligations and believe someone can love her? Or will Ezra's abuse forever scar her from being able to love?
This story was a first for me on the subject matter of child abuse. The setting in a prairie town in Kentucky just made me more willing to crack this book open and give it a go. One thing I'd like to note about this last book in the Little Hickman Creek Trilogy is that the characters are breathed life and seeped in realism because of their pasts. Reality dictates that everyone has a past - and more often than not, it is not a bed of roses. MacLaren brings this truth to fruition in this novel, and it is masterfully done. I even learned a thing or two....but then you'll just have to read the book.