With Song by Dorothy Garlock

3 Jul

Let me start off by saying that I bought this book at our library bookstore (as I do many books) for $.50 and didn’t realize at the time it was part of a trilogy.  Now I need to buy the first and third novels…

Set in the depression-era, the trilogy With Hope, With Heart, and With Song give an intriguing look at the dangerous backdrop of the Old West.

In With Song, Molly McKenzie’s peaceful world is devastated one summer evening in 1935 when gangsters kill her parents while robbing their country store.

When she hears a series of loud pops, she thinks her father is teasing her mother with the latest shipment of firecrackers, but when she looks out the front window and sees two suspicious men getting into a big black car, she begins to think otherwise. In this small town, everyone knows everyone.  When she goes downstairs, she discovers that both her parents have been killed and the store robbed.

Molly’s world is further upset by the arrival of federal agent Hod Dolan who convinces Molly to let him use her as bait to lure the men back to the scene of the crime, not realizing just how dangerous this might prove to be. While Hod knows the plan threatens all of their lives, he doesn’t know that protecting Molly will endanger his heart as well. Drawn to the pretty young woman at first sight, he finds himself falling deeply in love with her. Molly, however, is still struggling to deal with the violent death of her parents and is wary of loving a man whose occupation is fraught with danger. She doesn’t trust his intentions but Hod is determined to prove his love is real.  Bound together by their mutual determination to bring her parents’ killers to justice, the two begin to forge a relationship, but neither of them knows yet of another threat to their lives that is darker, more sinister, and much closer to home. I found this twist especially fun to read.  It gave the story more depth and creativity than most of the romance novels I’ve come across.

Molly and Hod are strong, honorable, and courageous characters whose story is balanced by colorful secondary characters and a well-developed plot.  While there are quite a few characters you’ll enjoy getting to know, I want to introduce you to a few of them here.

Aunt Bertha: Molly’s aunt who comes to help Molly after the death of her parents.  Simply said, Bertha is a kick in the pants.  Her no-nonsense approach reminded me a lot of Alice from The Brady Bunch.  She’s honest, direct and has a great sense of humor.  Aunt Bertha drives a brand new ’34 Ford.  This detail hit close to home because when I was in Junior High School a family friend owned a beautifully restored 1934 Ford that I absolutely loved.  

The Bonner Family: Humble, dignified and proud.

George and his sister Gertrude: Neighbors of the McKenzie’s, George is in his 30s, sweet, simple, devoted and misunderstood.  Gertrude on the other hand, considerably older than her brother is a mean recluse who is rarely seen. 

Charlotte: Young, full of life and living a burdened life.  Makes you wonder how many real-life Charlottes are out there.

When it comes to reading I think I’m pretty easy to please, I really don’t ask for much.  Maybe I come away happy because I don’t often stray far from my comfort zone, but I’m okay with that.  I want reading to be a relaxing, enjoying adventure, not a chore.  I enjoyed this book and the characters.  I look forward to finishing the trilogy and sharing my thoughts with you…

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