In the 1930s, Route 66 (aka Mother Road) was the fastest way through most of the country. All kinds of people traveled the road, and Andy Connors, owner of a small garage on the highway, sees them all: families headed out of the dust bowl to California, dreamers and drifters, bootleggers and the law. What he never expects to see is a man from the past whose arrival is an answer to a prayer.

H.L. Yates arrives the day Andy is bitten by a rabid skunk and immediately takes him to the hospital while promising to run the garage and watch over his daughter and his housekeeper, Leona. Poor Leona has been painted as the town's scarlet woman because she is living with Andy but not married to him.

Yates is attracted to Leona but the bitter gossip and her brother's vicious lies and religious fanaticism plunge him and Leona into a tumultuous situation.

Dorothy Garlock writes about real people and real life at its grittiest. She pulls no punches with her characterizations—showing the good, the bad and the ugly. She consistently delivers a realistic (though often disturbing) uplifting read. MOTHER ROAD will please fans, though the plot perhaps veers too closely to her previous novels. SWEET (Jun., 380 pp., $22.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin