Canyon Song
by Gwyneth Atlee, historical (2000)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6746-1


Anna Bennett and Quinn Ryan were once involved only to have her betray him and cause him to be thrown into jail. While in jail, his family is destroyed. When Quinn comes out, he is out for revenge. An injury has him left at the doorsteps of Anna, now a hermit healer, and she couldn't do anything but to take him in. Especially when she is already guilt-ridden over her role in destroying Quinn's life.

Quinn isn't exactly ecstatic when he realizes Anna's the one who has been caring for him. But he couldn't turn away when Anna faces a villain who will evict Anna from her home in any means necessary.

There are a lot of flaws in this novel. The author seems to believe that the more action (shooting, rape attempts, murder, break-in's, escapes, etc) the better. The villain is so bad he is Yosemite Sam without the redneck accent. But underlying the action overkill is the compelling, poignant relationship between Quinn and Anna. Both have a lot to work to do before they can safely snog their way to babies and happily ever after, and the author doesn't take short cuts in this department. The internal conflict is real, and the loneliness these two characters feel are so well done I ache for them.

The scenes where Anna nurses Quinn, for one, is one of the most moving and painful scenes of loneliness and guilt I have ever read.

Unlike this author's previous two books which I couldn't get into, Canyon Song is a flawed yet beautiful romance of healing and love. Maybe I will check out this author's future books after all.

Rating: 88


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