Review of HUSH by Judy Christenberry (see her website)
FROM THE CIRCLE K
Silhouette Books, September 2003
Pregnant and desparate, Georgie Brown contacts the family of her dead fiance. Her baby's grandfather, Caleb Crawford, had established a trust fund for his illegitimate son--and the baby is the heir. Surely he'll be willing to do something to help. Instead of support, though, Georgia finds doubt and anger. Worse, she learns that her baby's grandfather had kept her fiance's existance a secret from his wife. A marriage that has lasted for decades is suddenly hanging in the balance. Georgia may not be perfect, but she knows better than to stay where she isn't wanted--especially where her very presence threatens to destroy a family.
Carol Crawford had thought she could trust her husband--that there were no secrets to tear them apart. When she learns that he has been lying for decades, she wonders whether she can continue in the relationship. One thing for sure, though, she doesn't want to let Georgia simply walk out of their lives. But what can she do when the young woman is so determined to keep her independence--even in the face of threats. Because Georgia doesn't come without baggage.
Rick Crawford hates to see his parents fight--but he hates even more to see Georgia suffer. It doesn't take him long to determine that she is no cold-hearted gold-digger. Instead, she is a woman who cherishes her independence and who is willing to sacrifice her own happiness for those around her. He can't help falling in love with her despite the anguish this causes for his father--and the fact that Georgia tells him that there is no possibility for happiness for the two of them.
Author Judy Christenberry (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Christenberry) tells an emotional tale of family and of the destructive power of lies. Because Caleb has tried to keep his secret hushed, his family is threatened. Because of a secret that Georgia holds tight to herself, her own chances of happiness are lost. The sinister step-father to Georgia's late fiance adds an element of danger to the story.
As with many of Christenberry's novels, a strong sense of family and community gives HUSH warmth and sustains hope even as the Crawford family threatens to crumble and Rick's chances of happiness seem to fade. Fans of the Circle K series will be delighted to see returning characters--facing the tests that Caleb's lies create for all of them, and finding greater strength in their relationships. HUSH is another delightful Christenberry concoction--as delicious as some of the cakes and pies that her characters are always eating.
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