April 1, 2009

Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

DreamAfter losing his wife and son two years ago, Gabriel Bonner isn't quite ready to re-join the living, but he keeps trying to pretend he is mostly to sooth his parents and brothers; so he takes up the project of re-opening The Pride of Carolina, a drive-in cinema in his hometown of Salvation, North Carolina, even though he really is a vet and he doesn't even care that much about the drive in.

Rachel Stone is tied to a painful scandal in Salvation's recent history, namely that of the T.V. evangelist G. Dwayne Snopes who died trying to escape the police after he had stolen several million dollars from the people who believed in him. Rachel was his wife, and the person G. Dwayne Snopes tried to blame for all the wrong he did (before he died he made several declarations saying his greedy wife had lead him to steal and stuff like that). So, naturally, everyone in Salvation hates Rachel, yet she's forced to return there after her life hits a dead end - as in she has no job, no place to live and she has a son she adores and whom she has to take care of -and she thinks there might be some answers for her in Salvation.

Luckily - or perhaps not so - the first person she runs into upon arriving to town is Gabriel, who doesn't even recognize her but who also doesn't want anything to do with her or her kid (like I said before, he's still pretty deep into his grief). But, eventually, he does offer her a job and finds her a place to stay because, even if he's bitter and has a dead wish a mile long, he's a good man deep down.

There were many things I liked about this book, I liked how it went slow, exploring both Rachel and Gabriel and why they came to be the way they are. I liked how Gabriel's return from the dead was slow and gradual, how he didn't magically fall in love with Rachel's son, Edward, in fact, for a good part of the book, Gabriel doesn't even like him - and he doesn't try to replace his son with Edward - and the feeling was pretty mutual. But, for me, the character I liked the most was Rachel, life was tough on her but she didn't became a bitter person, and there is no false pride about her; she does what she must to survive and keep her son with her the best she can.

There is also a nice secondary romance involving Gabriel's youngest brother Ethan and another character (whom I really liked too) as well as a visit from Grabriel's older brother Cal and his wife Jane (from Nobody's Baby But Mine).



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