Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Devoted

When it happened, Ryan Brooks thought it was the hands of God pulling him from the burning wreckage of the Brooks family car.  Later, he knew that he had been saved by a Wyoming rancher - the same man who had to watch his parents burn to death because he could not do the same for them.

Now, thirty years after that horrible 1960 accident, and despite an exchange of birthday and Christmas cards during most of those years, Ryan has still not met the man who saved his life.  And it is now or never because his rescuer is terminally ill - and has, at most, a few more weeks to live.  Both men fear the painful memories that their meeting might reawaken, but they know that if it is ever going to happen, it has to be soon.  What neither of them could have anticipated is how greatly Ryan's visit will impact lives other than theirs.

Ryan, unsure how to handle the visit, and struggling to say everything he feels, is so welcomed into the O'Donnell home by Alessandra, Mike's wife, that he grows more confident by the hour.  Too, it doesn't hurt that Mike's pretty daughter, Shannon, has come home to be with her father during his final days.  But the longer Ryan stays in Wyoming, the more complicated things become.

Jonathan Hull
The Devoted is a story filled with surprises, surprises that are revealed one-by-one until the reader's (and Ryan's) initial assumptions about the accident, Mike, Alessandra, and Shannon are largely proven wrong.  The O'Donnells are a family with lots of secrets - secrets that they have kept even from each other for decades.  Shannon's parents brought secrets into their marriage that go all the way back to World War II Italy where Alessandra had a passionate love affair with a German soldier who was part of the group that occupied her tiny village.  Now might be the last chance to finally share those secrets with each other and Ryan.  But the real question is whether any of them will emotionally survive the revelations.

Bottom Line: The Devoted is a good story and Jonathan Hull tells it well.  Fans of historical fiction and readers who like romantic literary fiction will particularly enjoy this one.  Too, World War II history buffs are sure to appreciate Hulls version of life on the Italian home front for those Italians not pleased to be allied with Adolph Hitler.  

(Review Copy provided by Publisher)

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