Dorothy Garlock has long been one of my favorite authors and I have believed that her work has been of hardcover quality for many years so it is wonderful that the publisher has decided she is deserving of this as well. With her hardcover debut, THE EDGE OF TOWN, she simply outdoes herself.
It is 1920s and Julie Jones has been left to care for her five young brothers and sisters while her father tends their farm just outside of Fertile, Missouri, her mother having died in a flu epidemic four years previously.
Evan Johnson has returned to town years after leaving to live with his grandparents and after serving in the Great War. He is living with his father, the lecherous town bully and drunk, in a rundown home, not too far from the Jones's farm. He is immediately attracted to Julie when he saves her from his father's lecherous advances as she is walking home from town.
There is something sinister about as a series of brutal rapes rock the small farming community. Who could be the culprit? Could it be the same person who molested Julie years previously? Julie's father's loneliness and desire for female companionship threaten to rip the family apart when he takes in a Birdie, a widow and her young daughter, falling victim to her charms. A series of secrets are revealed and then a near tragedy threatens to spoil Julie and Evan's chance at happiness.
Julie is pretty typical of Garlock's heroines - strong, intelligent, caring, and not afraid of hard work. Evan, as a hero, is a wonderful match for Julie and embodies many of the same characteristics.
Rich and multi-layered, THE EDGE OF TOWN is a wonderful story with rich characterization and several very dramatic scenes as the rapist is discovered as well Birdie's true background, and the outcome of an additional horrific crime, making for a real page turner. Garlock is known for books that are a part of the series, and I am hoping we are going to see a book soon about Corbin Appleby, the young lawman who comes to town after his fiancée has been raped and murdered by a man from Fertile.
In the past, many romance readers have been disappointed in the books of their favorite authors once they go hardcover. Not with this one, this is one that is very much worth paying the hardcover price. I also hope, by being in hardcover, the books of the talented Dorothy Garlock will be discovered by more and more fans - she deserves to be a household word. Simply outstanding reading!