Wow, this is a must read

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This book tore me apart, made me laugh and made me cry, often !! I had been waiting for that first 5* book of 2021 that would blow me away, THIS IS DEFINITELY THAT BOOK!!

This novel has an amazingly intricate plot, perfectly paced, turns that you don’t expect, with characters that will be with me for a very long time.

We begin at the scene of a tragedy, a young girl is dead, and this small California coastal town will never be the same again.

Fast forward 30 years, Vincent King is getting out of prison. His old best friend, Sheriff Walker, “Walk” is on his way to pick him up and take him back to town. He was serving time for a crime he committed when he was 15 years old. Walk was the one who turned him in.

Star is the town beauty who has now been reduced to an addict’s life, really dependent on 13 year old Duchess. Her sister Sissy was killed when she was young.

Duchess is a fiery, determined, intelligent and loving sister to her young brother Robin. She takes care of her mom and her brother, all the while being taunted at school because of her clothes and her mom’s reputation.

Robin has had an extremely traumatized childhood only made tolerable because of his sister. She LOVES HIM FIERCELY !! and will do anything to protect him.

Tragedy strikes again, Star is murdered and the children are homeless.

Hal, the children’s grandfather takes the children to his farm in Wyoming. It is such a different atmosphere that it takes a bit for Duchess to feel safe. Robin is in love with all of the animals. Hal is an amazing man, gentle and caring, just what Duchess and Robin need right now. Things are good, until they aren’t!!

The characters are incredibly well developed and I felt for Walk, for his strong and fierce determination to keep Star and the children safe. He’s had some bad medical news that he is also dealing with.

He hovers around Vincent, making sure he settles in alright. He has placed a lot of burden on himself. I will never forget our heroine, Duchess and her incredible determination.

This novel is a family drama, a mystery, a coming of age book and so much more. The descriptions of Cape Haven and the visions of the summers and winters in Wyoming took me there, right now! Chris Whittaker made me “feel” what it was like on the cliffs of Cape Haven and in Hal's barn with the smell of hay and the comfort of horses.

Just when things start to look up for Duchess, who calls herself an OUTLAW, another horrible turn of events lands them back to being ALONE !

Back and forth we go, along for an incredible ride. Don’t miss this book, it will take you away from wherever you are and deliver you into the hands of a master storyteller!

I received a copy of this novel from Readersfirst.