The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

HOME BY MORNING By Alexis Harrington

Home by Morning by Alexis HarringtonPublisher:  Montlake Romance
Release Date:  December 2011
Pages:  329
Genre:  Historical Romance

About the Book:  October 1918: En route from New York to Seattle, Jessica Layton stops for a visit in her hometown of Powell Springs, Oregon, and comes face-to-face with Cole Braddock, her first and only love. Now, years later, Jessica is a highly accomplished clinical physician preparing for an exciting new job in Washington, and Cole is a successful horse breeder who is courting her sister Amy. Both are convinced they have moved beyond their youthful passion and the heartbreak it produced; nonetheless, they are grateful that Jessicas brief visit will leave little opportunity to rehash old wounds. But before Dr. Layton can leave town, Powell Springs is hit hard by the influenza epidemic ravaging the country. With no other doctors available, Jessica must remain in Oregon and tend to her friends and former neighbors. Her work brings her in constant contact with Cole, and with each passing day he finds it harder to convince himself that sweet-tempered Amy can fill his heart as Jessica once did. Set against the backdrop of World War I and the epidemic of 1918, Home by Morning is a compelling story of betrayal, heartbreak, and redemption.

Wanda's Thoughts:  1918 - Powell Springs, Oregon - Dr Jessica Layton had sworn never to return to Powell Springs, but she's traveling from New York to Seattle and stops off at her hometown for just a brief visit. Jessica was the daughter of the deceased physician of Powell Springs, and had left the small town years ago to study medicine in New York. She'd left behind the love of her life, Cole Braddock, the town's blacksmith, who is now involved with Amy, Jessica's sister. She would be here only for a few days and then on to Seattle where she had a research position waiting. Jessica knew she'd have to see Cole, but thought she'd be more prepared. 

Amy was very close to becoming Cole's fiancee. She seemed to be a wonderful woman - pretty, sweet tempered, charming, and she didn't try Cole's patience, as Jess had. Amy turns out to be a rather complex character. 

World War 1 was going on and most of the doctors and nurses had gone overseas. The town is waiting for Dr Pearson to arrive, but there is an influenza outbreak and they need a doctor now. The council asked Jessica to stay until Dr Pearson arrived. Jessica had no interest in practicing clinical medicine anymore, but agreed to stay on for a short time, delaying her trip to Seattle. And the story unfolds ---

Riley Braddock, an older brother of Cole's, had enlisted and was fighting in France. He'd left his wife, Susannah, behind to run the farm and hadn't seen her for 16 months. 

Dr Pearson appeared to be a presentable young graduate, but had a big ego and many prejudices. He was very condescending and insulting to Jessica. 

Other secondary characters - Emmaline, whose husband had run off and left her with two kids. She takes up prostitution to earn a living. Adam Jacobsen, the minister, who is rather hard to like, adds a few surprises in the storyline. 

The war scenes, taking place on the battlefields of France, were well done, but it was such a small part of the storyline - I was hoping for more. The main characters were interesting, but not exciting. There were many different layers built into the storyline - perhaps too many, with a predictable ending.  Home By Morning was a fast and easy read, and had a few surprises, but just lukewarm, and not one I would enthusiastically recommend. 3 stars.

The Author - Alexis Harrington
I've been a self-employed working novelist for the past twenty years. Of all the books I've written I've had just one foreign sale, and that was THE IRISH BRIDE, which was translated into Norwegian, where I understand it was a big hit.

I also make jewelry and I'm a fine needlework artist, specializing in embroidery, thread crochet, and sewing. I love to cook, read, entertain friends, decorate, and pursue various crafts.

I live in the Pacific Northwest near the Columbia River, still within 10 miles of my old high school. I have a Great Pyrenees dog, one cat, a finch, and three chickens who all seem to want to be in my small office while I'm trying to work (except the chickens, although they'd be thrilled to get into the house if I let them). Getting up to step around them is like maneuvering an obstacle course, but they are my children and so dear to me. My hours are kind of goofy--I'm just not a morning person and tend to be up late when the rest of the world is sleeping--and QUIET. No phones, faxes, distractions. Just the kids and me, candles burning, and the elevator music coming out of my CD player.

Before I made the leap to full-time writer, I spent about 12 years working for consulting civil engineers. Riprap, anyone? How about a nice detention pond?
Alexis HarringtonI