Freedom. Safety. Love. Miranda vows to reclaim them--for herself, and for her children.
A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling method of ruling his flock. But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets from her past, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.
College professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son, Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive—despite Jack’s unnerving appeal.
As Jack tries to make sense of the mysterious Miranda and the secrets she holds so tightly, Mason’s pressure on her increases. With her emotions stirring and freedom calling, can Miranda find a way to unshackle her family without losing everything?
My take on this book:
Miranda Hanford married at the age of nineteen to a religious zealot, who controlled just about every aspect of her life, except for the letters that his half-brother Jack sent them regularly. While her husband forbade contact with Jack, those letters allowed Miranda a sense of normalcy, a connection to the outside world. When her husband accidentally dies, leaving Miranda with six children to care for, her church family is there to help her, but unfortunately for Miranda the church leader Mason, is just as controlling as her husband.He actually claims that God spoke to him and told him that his congregation needs to sell their homes and move to a new town with him. Miranda is determined she wont follow him, but Mason threatens her with a secret from her past.
When Miranda has an accident, Jack is called to be the guardian of the children while she is in the hospital. Jack takes a leave of absence from his job as a professor in Chattanooga never realizing just what he is getting into. While the six home schooled children are very smart, they have led a very sheltered life, one without t.v. fiction, and rarely leave the house. Jack decides to give them a taste of "normal life 101. As Jack shakes up the children's lives, Miranda also longs to change. Will she be able to break the hold that Mason has over her?
The author makes it easy to see how an insecure nineteen year old Miranda could have wound up in the situation she was in.As the reader learns Miranda's story we see her as a devoted mother who didn't really share the same beliefs as her husband,but didn't want to rock the boat. She is a wonderful mother who longs to let her children have a normal life but because of Mason's threats is afraid that DFCS might come in and take her children. The children in the story were adorable, with distinct personalities that you couldn't help but love. As Jack's history is slowly revealed we find that he has things from his past that haunt him, something that he has blamed himself for. I loved the secondary character of Yvonne, I could easily envision her becoming a grandmotherly figure to the children.
The way the author portrayed the characters made them seem very real,showing us their insecurities and flaws. It was interesting to watch Miranda grow into a woman that was determined to get her life back.Jack and Miranda both experience spiritual growth throughout the story, and Jack finally has a family The feelings seemed totally accurate for what the characters were going thru. I also found that the author was fair and balanced because while she showed us how controlling and manipulative Mason's church was, she allows us to experience a church and minister that isn't so repressive and controlling.
I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more from this author.
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.