That are the hardest things to keep...
There's a romance in this story and it's sweet and I enjoyed it a lot but what really captured my attention and my heart in this story was the other part of this story...the one about family.
'Family' is really such an abstract word. It holds different meanings for all of us. For me it's that group of people who are there for you no matter what, it's your shelter from the storm that can be the rest of the world...family it's unconditional love and acceptance...it's something that we all want but don't always get. So yeah, I could go on and on about how important...how special I think family is but I think I've made my point...family when it's the way it should be is magical.
Kaenon thought he had that special family until they threw him out but that was also when he learned that sometimes the family we have isn't the one we need and just like so many other things in life...families shift and change.
When Kaenon's family threw him out it was his grandparents and his aunt who were there to create an new family for him...to be the family that he needed to take him into adulthood and give him the love that he needed to go out into the world and make a life for himself...to leave Braxton, Texas and not return...until over a decade later when his grandmother...the last member of the family that saved him calls him home, to spend her final summer with her.
'Stand in Place' is set at the beginning of that summer and Kaenon's determined to spend that summer with his grandmother and then return to his home and the life he's made away from Braxton. What Kaenon doesn't realize is that his grandmother's plans for the summer don't include just sitting around waiting to die. Nope, grandma's determined to make sure that Kaenon's family once again shifts to make sure that the grandchild she helped raise isn't alone that he has a family to love him...to give him back the family that years ago failed him.
I have to admit I don't think I would have been as quick to forgive as Kaenon was especially towards his father and having brothers and sisters of my own I get why he might have been more willing to forgiving his brother and sister, I get how much he missed having them in his life.
There's a fine line being walked when someone is seeking/giving forgiveness...how soon is too soon? and at what point has it gone from giving forgiveness to handing out retribution? and those are questions that have to be determined by each person on an individual basis.
This story held a plethora of secondary characters that were all intriguing in their own right but most of all I was enchanted with Keanon's grandmother (Jo as she preferred to be called) this woman is the grandmother we all would love to have and she was delightful and not to forget Kaenon's love interest 'Brody'.
Brody was the high school football star, best friend to Kaenon's brother and Kaenon's had a crush on Brody that goes all the way back to high school...it's a crush that Kaenon doesn't realize has been reciprocated for years. But now that he's got a second chance Brody's not going to let Kaenon slip away without putting up a fight.
Last but not least there's Jo's garden...over the years it's gone to ruin and now Jo want's Brody to restore it to help bring it back to its former glory. There's so much symbolism to this garden. The connection that Kaenon's family holds to the land...the connection they hold to the community and so many other things. I enjoyed the potential sybolisms that are loosely woven into the is part of the story allowing the reader to put their own interpretation on them.
Ok, so by now it's pretty obvious that for me this story just worked and I really enjoyed it, but I need to add that this was also due in no small part to the wonderful narration provided by Greg Boudreaux. I have no doubt in my mind that when I do my annual... semi-annual...quarterly...re-listen of my Mary Calmes audio collection, this one will be on my list...I don't have them all if her books on audio but I'm working on it!