Ethan Morrow's dream is about to come true; he's finally leaving the small town of Van Wert for the chance to own land out West. Ethan's wagon is ready to go and he's headed out of town when he takes his eyes off the road for a split second and in that moment he runs down a small boy.

Sterling Phillips is horrified when her little brother, Worth, is struck. Lying near death, his little limbs bent at strange angles, she fears the worst. Sterling is inconsolable and Ethan tries to help by vowing to see that Worth gets well.

Ethan puts off his departure longer and longer as he realizes Worth may never walk again or ride the bicycle he dreams about or play with Ethan's nieces and nephews. But it is not guilt that keeps him in Van Wert, but his newfound interest in Sterling.

Sterling has her own secrets; private demons that she must fight and she fears that Ethan and his family may break through her guard. With the help of the Morrow clan and her own eccentric family, a near marriage to the wrong man for the wrong reasons and the hopes of Worth's recovery, Sterling and Ethan discover that love and the promise of a beautiful "happily ever after" future is truly SWEETER THAN WINE.

Stephanie Mittman has the gift for touching readers' hearts with stories that warm them down to their toes and leave them with a long lasting glow and a satisfied sigh. SWEETER THAN WINE combines poignancy with tenderness, compassion with humor and a cast of memorable characters to rekindle your belief in the goodness of man and the wonder of love. Like "Pollyanna" this is a tale to cherish and hold close to your heart. SENSUAL (March, 390 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin