When architect Gary Tanner dies in a car accident, he leaves behind a grieving widow, a young son and a best friend. When the insurance company implies that Gary's death is a suicide, Rachel, his wife, turns to Gary's best friend Dylan Prescott for help. Neither Dylan nor Rachel can believe that Gary killed himself, so they begin searching for answers. Unfortunately, their search reveals that Gary has been keeping secrets from everyone.

Rachel fears that the answers she seeks will lead to painful revelations. She and Gary were in the process of building their dream house and the unfinished property stands like an open wound to eight-year-old Wesley, who insists that his father will someday return. Despite his efforts to stay away from Rachel and Wesley, Dylan is drawn into their daily lives. Finishing the house becomes a priority for himhe hopes that its completion will help Wesley heal and face the truth.

Facing loss and learning to love again are powerful themes that run through this touching new novel. Barbara Freethy does her usual terrific job of creating vivid and poignant characters. (Mar., 384 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith