Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.
Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.
Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick's abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she's starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He's back…and he's not alone.
Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson's death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.
MARY ANN (Originally posted Dec 12, 2012):
When I started reading this last night, I couldn't put it down until I finished it well until midnight. I love how the story started when Alix & Nick were just kids, and you can really see the hows and whys of their love for each other.
From friendship, to young love, heartbreak, pain, and true love, I felt that this story took me to a journey, reminding me how it was to be a child, to experience my first crush, love and heartbreak. I also love how the author made Alix & Nick's characters develop and mature.
The book was divided into three parts, first when they were children, then their teenage years and then their adult lives.
WHAT I LOVE MOST about this book is that when I finished reading it, even though I cried,laughed,was hurt and even felt betrayed all throughout the book,in the end, I felt Happy and Content. The author gave it a good ending, and ending that made me feel good about love and life.
My fave lines/scenes:
“Why are you doing this?” One of his hands caressed the books.
“Because books are made to be read,” I told him. “And you like to read.”
His shoulder lifted in a shrug. “I’m Frank Anderson’s son and I live in a junkyard. Who’d want to marry me?”
“I’ll marry you,” I told him decisively. “That way, we can both have kids someday.”
He grinned, those dimples emerging in a blaze of glory. “Yeah, you probably would. But I don’t think you should go around telling people you’re going to marry me. They might get the wrong idea.” Draping an arm around my shoulders, he gave me a little shake.
“Now shut up and read. I just got to a good part.”
I snuggled down next to him, happily sure that our future had been settled. There were still some blank areas in my knowledge of where babies came from, but I knew that together we could work it out. How hard could it be when Liz Swanner had managed it six times?
“I will admit, though, she must not be that good. That was one of the shortest affairs Hugh ever had.” I lowered my hand and looked her right in the eye. “Of course, I had to divorce him after that. There was no way I could sleep with him knowing where he’d been. I’d have had to boil him first.
“I swear, I’ll never leave you again,” he whispered.
I lifted my other hand to his face, fingers caressing his skin. “It wouldn’t do you any good if you did,” I said. “Because the next time, I’d come after you.”
“You better wait on me, damn it.”
“I don’t think I have much choice.” He brushed my hair back. “You’re the only one I’ve ever wanted, Alix, the only one I’ll ever want. That’s a promise.”
He always was someone. Because the core of the sweet gum tree never changes. Like Nick, the deep red wood stays true to its nature. Strong, and steady, and pure.
I definitely recommend this guys, 5 stars!