Excerpt: "Seems like the good minister mighta murdered somebody else, too. Anyway, I'll be back the end of the week with more newspapers. Maybe by then they'll have found the other body."
"Wh-what other body?" she managed before her throat tightened with fear.
"Accordin' to those papers, none of the officials or reporters have been able to find his daughter since the trial started, so they decided he musta killed her, too. They're lookin' hard, but they say she's got no family to take her in. One newspaper claimed she's just hidin' out somewhere. Not that I blame the poor woman. I'd hide, too, if that wicked minister was my father." Love's First Bloom, pg 26.
Back Cover: Life changes drastically for Ruth Livingstone the day her father puts a young child in her arms and sends her under an assumed name to a small village in New Jersey. There she dutifully awaits his acquittal, certain that her father, Reverend Livingstone, soon will be cleared of the outrageous accusations against him.
When tragic events transpire, Ruth finds solace tending a garden along the banks of the Toms River - a place where she can find a measure of peace amid her growing heartache. It is also here that she meets Jake Spencer, a man who both frustrates and intrigues her. Fearful of the newspapermen intent on tracking her down and unsure of whom to trust, Ruth knows she must carefully maintain her identity as Widow Malloy. But as love begins to slowly bloom, can the tenuous affection growing between Ruth and Jake withstand the secrets that separate them?
My Review: Delia Parr weaves a tale of lies and deceit. I was faced with the question: is it alright to lie to protect your identity or the identity of an innocent person. Another question that I was forced to face was: When is it worth lowering your principles to get what you really want. Parr characters struggle through these questions in their own lives. There is no easy answer to either.
One thing that I really liked about this book was the character Ruth, and her determination to obey her father, no matter the cost to herself. She gives up the life that she has known to assume another identity and help a child that she had never met. Her love for her father, and her father's love for the former prostitutes of New York, put Ruth in a dangerous and uncomfortable position.
To add to Ruth's problem, there is the growing attraction for a man whom she hardly knows. Jake Spencer is a carpenter recovering from a fall off a roof, or at least that is what he says. Can their young love survive the lies that they both tell to each other? Will love cover a multitude of sins? To know the answers to these questions, you'll have to read the book.
My Recommendation: I recommend this book to lovers of historical romantic fiction.
(I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review)