When it is all said and done, this was a simple romance book that was three parts tedious and one part sweet. I have to say the developement of the emotions of the two main characters left something to be desired. Mary Elizabeth has known Tucker for most of her life but is "swept of her feet by a stranger"... and she expreses her sorrow over this with simple statements like Tucker was a "MAN who did not deserve to be hurt!" The sheer unsophistication and lack of complexity [in regard to their emotions] made it really hard to invest in the love story between Tucker and M.E. I think that to develope the deep sense of love they were supposed to have required more complex feelings that didn't suggest such complete disassociation on M.E.'s part in the first half of the book. Furthermore, Tucker was somewhat more likable, but dull nonetheless! I know that he is supposed to be a symbol of honor, nobility, and patience within the county, but God man... can I get an honest emotional reaction!? There is no sense of anger, betrayal, envy of ME's late husband, reluctance, or even grand passion to overcome said emotions. It is just all... SHE WAS/IS A FRIEND, SHE IS ALONE, I WILL TAKE CARE OF HER, WE(!) LET SOMETHING PRECIOUS GO. There was no emotional accountabilty or turmoil that one would experience if the person you loved left you and then just ramroded their way back into your environment with no sense of sacrifice or care in regard to you (as M.E. does to Tucker). In essence, the romance didn't sizzle and the book failed to introduce honest intimacy or heightened emotions that could have made up for that missing romanctic element. I read a quarter of the book before I found myself skimming to the end... and definitely recommend a pass on the book!