Melanie has been living on Stella’s land in New Mexico for seven years. Only women, most of them lesbians, most of them in their seventies. The youngest on the land at 37, Mel has moved here for reasons she doesn’t enjoy discussing. She needed solitude and while she gets lonely sometimes, she’s happy with it. In Houston, Erin has lost herself in work for the past year and a half and her family is worried. They manage to convince her to spend three months at Stella’s. She ends up staying with Melanie. The first few days are tough for both, Melanie trying not to resent Erin for invading her privacy even though hosting guests once in a while is part of the deal, Erin fighting her Red Bull (among other things) withdrawal and not being her sweet old self at all. But as time goes by, they get along then become friends, then more.
I know a lot of Gerri Hill’s readers love her mystery novels but I am first and foremost a fan of her romances. At Seventeen, Storms (which I translated into French, lucky me) or No Strings are some of my favorite. She keeps breaking my heart before mending it again, and it’s painful in the best way.
The scene where Erin is taken to the land reminded me of when I was a teenager and was sent to something akin to summer camp. I hated it, it was full of people I didn’t know (I’m not good with people I don’t know) in a place I’d never been to before (I’m not good with places I’ve never been to before) and I was expected to enjoy activities with others (you know what I’m about to write, don’t you?). I wasn’t a thirty-something woman in need of some sort of rehab but I can relate. That’s what I love most about Gerri Hill’s books: I feel everything the characters go through. When they hurt, I hurt. When they love, I love too. Like I wrote in my review for Beautiful Accidents by Erin Zak, it’s what I’m looking for in romance novels.
And I guess that explains why I got really mad at Adam at some point. I’m sure he was sincere and all but he took advantage of Mel’s aloneness, the only reason he got her to agree to anything is because she had no one else and didn’t want to hurt his feelings and lose him. I’ll stop here because I don’t want to spoil too much but WTF, man? Yeah, I guess I’m still mad. Even though I’m sure he didn’t mean to upset her or saddle her with guilt for so long. But she’s kind and caring and while she’s strong, everything she’s had to go through as a child has left her vulnerable too, and I hate that she was hurt. I know, I know, she doesn’t exist IRL but that’s how good Hill is.
Another thing I love is how the author’s love of nature and its beauties translates into her way of describing them. It’s like I’m there, wherever there is. Whether it’s the mountains and snow storms or the desert and summer rain, I can see it.
And of course I, now more than ever, wish I had space for chicken and goats.