Title: Spring in Sweetwater County
Author: Ciara Knight
Publisher: Defy the Dark Publishing
Release Date: May 2014
Length: 198 pages
Series?: Sweetwater County #2
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Forty years after the death of her true love, Judy Gaylord discovers he’s alive. With the guilt of her falling into the arms of his cousin to console her grief, she now must face the man she betrayed.
Dr. James Benjamin has dedicated his life to helping people deal with their post-traumatic stress disorder in hopes of forgetting about his own trauma. Not wanting to risk the safety of others, he’s spent decades alone, but when he sees the woman he never forgot from before the war, his heart awakens.
When circumstances force Judy and James to work together, they soon discover old feelings never faded. Judy must forgive herself and James will have to face his fear or they will miss their second chance.
This seemed like a novella and not a full-length novel. The beginning is a convulted. I tried to work out all these ominous statements about characters and figure out what happened “all those years ago.” Obviously, despite what many individuals say about this being able to be a standalone, it is not. I have seen a couple mention that Winter in Sweetwater County is a must read prior to Spring in Sweetwater County.
This is Judy’s story, Eric’s mother. As a young woman, she was in love with James Benjamin, whom she has believed all these years was killed in action in Vietnam. Her high school friend Cathy knows otherwise and has kept that a secret for decades. This information fuels Judy’s hatred for Cathy and a lot of plot is dedicated to Judy’s hot/cold blowing classification of friendship with Cathy and betrayal by Cathy. A couple of these blow-ups seemed inappropriate and childish for a grown woman later in life.
Dr. James Benjamin has been living in Miami all this time. He spends his life dedicated to saving others while he also struggles with his PTSD demons. This was painted eloquently and realistically for soldiers returning home with PTSD. This is the reason he chose not to return to Sweetwater County all those years ago.
However, he does find himself back there – facing Judy’s wrath and receiving support from Cathy. While the town is a cesspool for gossip, they truly care about their townspeople. There is no comfort for them in mean or spiteful behavior; they rally to support others in their town and that was heartfelt. The town comes together to aid James in restoring his childhood home and give James and Judy space and support and love and encouragement they need to choose one another.
I enjoyed most of the secondary characters in the town – Eric and Lisa, and especially Cathy. She was a stand-up friend for James and did everything she did for her love and care for Judy. I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing in her position. A town I can definitely get behind and one I’d love to move to just for the great people.