Set in the off-beat Southern town of Willow Hill, North Carolina, Susan Schild’s moving and witty novel tells of one woman who loses everything—and finds more than she ever expected.
At thirty-eight, Linny Taylor is suddenly living a life she thought only happened to other, more careless people. Widowed for the second time, and broke, thanks to her cheating late husband, Linny has no house, no job, and no options except to go back home. There, in a trailer as run down as her self-esteem, Linny makes a list of things that might bring happiness. A porch swing. A job that nourishes her heart as well as her bank balance. Maybe even a date or two.
At first, every goal seems beyond reach. But it’s hard for Linny to stay in the doldrums when a stray puppy is coercing her out of her shell—right into the path of a kind, compassionate vet. The quirky town is filled with friends and family, including Linny’s mother, Dottie, who knows more about heartache than her daughters ever guessed. And as Linny contemplates each item on her list, she begins to realize that the dreams most worth holding on to are measured not in worldly success, but in the sweetness of a life lived to the fullest.
Linny kept her nervousness at bay with a lawn-and-garden-care palooza. She could manage this man, she decided, sitting on the metal seat of the surprisingly peppy lawn tractor, zipping around the overgrown lawn in ever-smaller circles. She’d tell the whole truth about herself and, in the unlikely event that that didn’t scare him off, she’d insist that they start out as friends for a year or two. Later, if he underwent an extensive physical and his financial records checked out, they’d progress to a slow pace of dating. This was the power of positive thinking that her old friend, Indigo, preached about. She nodded her head to encourage herself.
But later, all Linny’s good intentions flew away when she opened the door to the beautiful cowboy. With a stubble of beard, faded Levis, and scuffed boots, Jack’s green eyes sparkled as he gave her a crooked grin. “Evening, Linny.”
She drew in her breath sharply as she met his eyes and caught his scent—some heady mix of hay, horses, and Dial soap. Her attraction to him made her weak-kneed and apparently, mute. She opened her mouth and closed it again. She groaned to herself. This was not good. Drawing herself up taller, she sighed, and offered ungraciously, “You might as well come in.”
Roy skidded around the corner, a pair of Linny’s rattiest underwear in his mouth, and launched himself at Jack. Gasping, she snatched the panties from the dog and stuffed them in the pocket of her shorts. Feeling her face flame, she mumbled, “His latest trick is stealing clothes from the laundry basket.”
Jack grinned, and stooped to scratch the dog. Roy twisted in delight, and gazed at him adoringly. Linny shook her head, thinking of the similarities between herself and Roy. All it took was a little affection, and Jack was the puppy’s new best friend.”
Susan has a graduate degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has used her work background as a psychotherapist and a business consultant to add authenticity to her characters.
Susan is a wife, a stepmother, and a dog lover, Lab Mixes in particular. She and her family live in North Carolina where she is busy finishing up the third novel in the Willow Hill Series.