Review of HOME BEFORE DARK by Susan Wiggs (see her website)
MIRA, April 2003
Losing her sight, Jessie Ryder returns to the home that she left fifteen years before--and to the daughter she left, adopted by her sister, Luz. Jessie has been a photographer, taking pictures of the world, rescued from her mistakes by her sister, but her sister can't rescue her from blindness. Jessie intends to see her daughter, visit her sister, and then vanish again. She doesn't count on meeting a handsome pilot with a story of his own, or on her daughter Lile's decision to sneak out of the house for a night of joy-riding. When she must leave, the pain is more than she can stand--still, Jessie leaves, it defines who she is.
Dusty Matlock lost his pregnant wife but kept her on life support until their child, a wonderful daughter, could be born. For two years, he's retreated into himself. But when the pretty photographer comes to take his pictures for an article, he feels the stirrings of desire--and love. Dusty may have lost his love, but he isn't the kind of man to swear off love for a lifetime--and what he feels for Jessie is the real thing. Of course, the onset of Jessie's blindness is a secret--will Dusty be able to survive another terrible blow?
Author Susan Wiggs (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Wiggs) turns up the emotional intensity with this gripping story. Jessie is believable and thee-dimensional as the woman who sees herself as trouble, runs from her problems, yet who has punished herself more than anyone can. Luz is interesting and an apt counterpart to Jessie's flamboyance (three tattoos?). Dusty breaks the stereotype of romance heros by being confident of his emotions and certain of what he wants. Jessie's blindness is handled sensitively and realistically as she deals with the loss of this critical sense, the loss of her career, and the realization of all that she lost by walking away from her daughter at birth.
Susan Wiggs is a wonderful author who seems to grow stronger with each novel. HOME BEFORE DARK is an important achievement. Highly Recommended.
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