This is my favorite kind of love story. It's the story of a tortured man who's lost his belief in love, a woman who's fighting to save her family, and a turbulent time in history. It is about the making a of family, the making of a couple, and the redemption of a man. It was a truly remarkable book.
Set after the Civil War, this book tells the story of a woman trying to hold onto her land from opportunistic carpetbaggers while raising 3 adopted daughters. She comes across a wounded man on the road and takes him home to nurse him back to health.
Conor Branigan is an immigrant from Ireland. He has survived watching his family starve to death, horrific torture in prison, and innumerable other atrocities. He is afraid of love and commitment, choosing traveling the circuit as a boxer in order to survive. Gradually his body begins to heal, but it's the healing of his heart that is the true magic of this book.
This book won the prestigious RITA award. It was well deserved. The writing in this book is amazing. The author uses the technique of flashbacks to help us understand Conor and his behavior. I loved the pacing and felt the author did an incredible job at switching between past and present. I usually prefer books without children, but the children in this book were absolutely necessary for the healing that Conor needed to experience. They were a delight and excellent secondary characters who added depth to the story line.
I recommend this book with no hesitation other than it's out of print, hard to find, and expensive to buy. If you can find it....it's definitely a keeper!