It is no surprise to friends from online book groups or readers of my reviews for Luanne Rice's books, that this talented writer is one of my favorite authors. I buy all of her books as soon as they are published and place them on my keeper shelves after I read them. As much as I would like to save her new books for rainy days, I find myself gulping each book down too quickly, always regretting when the book is finished. For some reason, though, I never read Dream Country and found it calling out to me recently saying, "Read me, read me!" While I may never regard this book as one of my very favorite Rice read, I do think that any any Rice book is worhtwhile and this is no exception. And like most of Luanne Rice's books, Dream Country, is filled with a haunting tragedy, regrets for past actions but most of all the abiding love of parents for their children.
Daisy, a jeweler lives in Connecticut with her 16 old daughter, Sage. While she is content with her life and the freidnship and deotion of her sister, there is a deep void in her life which she can never replace. As Daisy create one of a likd pices of art which represnte the strenght of realtionships, she remembers back to the raly days when she visited Wyoming. Seeking the solitude and speactacular sights of thsi arewa, Daisy founds herself meeting and then marrying James Tucker, a rancher with a passion for the land that rivals Daisys. family. The beautiful Wyoming land is also wonderful for Daisy's artistice bent while her love for James has few limits. In time Daisy and James are blessed with twins, Sage and Jake. But then tragedy strikes when the twins are 3 and while James turned his back for a fwe minutes, Jake is nowhere to be seen. And while search parties and family and friends combed the area for months, nwo 13 years later he has never been seen or found dead. Grief stricken Daisy eventually leaves James and the ranch with Sage for her roots on the Connecticut shore. And it is to this area that she continues living, working and raising Sage alone.
Time has passed and Sage is a bright girl who feels as though she is only half of a whole. Although quite young when her brother was found missing and then lost, she still remember the feeling of a family sand a sibling. She also misses her father who refuses to leave the ranch even for a visit with Sage in case Jake is found. Then tragdy strikes again when Daisy finds that Sage has run away from home. Wondering how she could bear it if something happened to Sage, Daisy is besides herself. But It doesn't ake too long before she realizes that Sage is with her boyfriend and most likely they are making their way to her Wyoming and her father. Unfortunately, though, Daisy doesn't know all there is to know about Sage and when her boyfriend returns and Sage continues alone, Daisy knows its time for her to stay at the ranch and wait for her arrival. Daisy's reunion with James, his family and finally Sage and a stanger who picked Sage up on the road will forever change their family and begin healing their difficult past. While the book is rather straight forward there is one element of surprise which even if you figure it out while reading, still has you cheering for these people at the end.
While most of Rice's books are set in the East, this area was a new place for her and I found some of her descriptions intersting. I also know that some reviewers complained that she didn't get things right about ranch life or Wyoming but I am in no position to comment about this since I knwo very little about either. I do know that I really enjoy when her books are set on the Connecticut shore which feels liek home to me too. And I also know that I continue to enjoy Luanne Rice's characters, wisdom and the satisfying resolutions of their lives at the end of her novels.
I continue to look forward to this author's new books as well as rereading favorites like Blue Moon, Home Fires, the Firefly Beach trilogy and The Perfect Summer. This is one reader who has and will always be a most devoted fan of Luanne Rice.