I really hadn't expected to enjoy this as much as I did, but as soon as I began reading I knew that the author had a way with words that was going to make this book a pleasure to read.
Livie and Cotton were in love, a date had been fixed for the wedding. He was a true romantic, he left love notes tucked under a flowerpot or poked into the pocket of Livie's winter coat.
So why did he leave her standing at the altar on the day of her wedding?
As the story unfolds, we learn why he ran, what had happened to him in the six intervening years, and why he has now returned to Houston.
The central storyline is supported by some wonderful characters, particularly Charlie, the older man who Livie works with - he is an architecht and she designs gardens. He is wonderfully protective of her; asks her to flash her lights on and off last thing at night so he knows all is well.
Livie's and Cotton's families are excellently drawn too, loving and angry by turns.
There were also some clever details, such as Livie hiding bits of her wedding dress and trouseau under various ponds and fountains in her landscape projects around town, as a silent statement against her abandonment.
I was also made to think - if you do something that causes great distress but has been partially healed by time, is it right to open up old wounds to make amends? This is the central theme of the book and had me turning the pages as fast as my eyes could flick over the words.
Ms Sissell is the wife of a prison warden and I could sense the issues that such close contact with the imprisoned has had on her thoughts.
I see there are already two books available from this author and it's proving very difficult to keep my finger off the 'Buy now with 1-click' button :)