Former New York City flight attendant Annie Taylor is adjusting to farm life when her grandmother threatens to tear down the old stone house, unable to finance a restoration after the summer fire. Annie’s boyfriend Jake has severed his corporate life in Cincinnati and is jumping headlong into sustainable farming on the land next door. Their new relationship is wonderful — but can it last? As they take steps forward, a paralyzing fear of abandonment threatens to destroy her trust in Jake. As Annie works to save the old stone house she finds letters written during World War II that reveal a family mystery and an Italian connection. Her grandmother is hesitant to uncover the secret, afraid of what it might mean to her family’s name if the truth is laid bare. Comments from a nosy neighbor solidify Annie’s fears about herself and when Beulah agrees for Annie to travel to Italy to search out the family mystery, Annie is happy for the time away to sort out all her feelings. In the meantime, Beulah is left with an unexpected Italian-Catholic houseguest who wreaks havoc with Beulah’s Baptist ways and country routine. As the family mystery in Italy unfolds, Annie is forced to face her own past. She is ultimately faced with a choice: will she let history sabotage the future?
Angela Correll lives on a farm in Central Kentucky with her husband and an assortment of grass-fed cattle, horses, goats and chickens. Correll owns a retail shop and is co-owner of a farm-to-table restaurant. Her debut novel, Grounded, was an Amazon bestseller.
Visit the author’s website at: http://www.angelacorrell.com.
What a delight to find another author to put on the favorites list! I immediately fell into Angela Correll’s second novel, Guarded. The charming rural Kentucky setting matched with appealing characters and a story that piqued and kept my interest all added up to a very pleasurable reading experience. This novel, definitely women’s fiction, is book 2 in a series and continues the story begun in Grounded. I have not read book 1, but never felt behind or confused — the author does a good job of naturally recapping the story. But I do want to go back and read Grounded. Correll is too good an author to miss out on her books!
Annie Taylor is back at home on the farm after ten years working as a flight attendant. Living with her grandmother, Beulah, is starting to grow on her, and Jake, the boy next door, has grown up and is definitely her soulmate. However, Annie is left feeling not quite settled and scared that she may take after her roving father in too many ways. As Annie strives to save her childhood home from the ravages of a fire, she discovers family history buried for too long. Letters from both the 1700s and the 1940s shed light on family treasures and secrets.
Do family traits carry on throughout the generations? Guarded explores the influence, for bad and good, of heritage and legacies. I loved how one secondary, yet critical, character challenges Annie to look at what God can do to change what others say is set in stone. Correll’s characters are very well-developed; I felt they could have been my own neighbors! The sense of place was strong as well. Can I please go to Kentucky (not to mention Italy!). Faith is naturally woven through the story and the characters lives. While the novel is contemporary drama at its best, Correll does have a deft hand with humor as well. You are going to love the scenes between Beulah and her houseguest, Rossella!
Guarded is a great book, and I am looking forward to more from Angela Correll.
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(Thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)