The husband Joy Huffman adored is killed in an automobile accident. Only hours after she receives the news, their daughter is born. Joy is devastated. With the passing of time and the help of her mother-in-law, Evelyn, she begins to heal. Almost two years later she is ready to revisit the cabin she and her husband designed and built before his death. Joy, Evelyn, and Charity, Joy’s daughter, pack up, leave St. Louis, and head for New Mexico.
Her return is not what she expected it to be. The caretaker, Mark Stone, is a handsome computer expert who runs his business from the cabin. She is immediately attracted to him.
Joy begins to suspicion that her husband’s death may not have been an accident. She realizes that she, Evelyn, and her little daughter, may all be in immediate danger. Should she stay and try to solve the mystery while dealing with her growing attraction to Mark, or should she run, not walk, to the nearest escape route?
Starting Over Book Two: The Return of Joy I found many things to recommend this book. The poems at the beginning of chapters are lyrical and lovely. The plot kept me engaged all the way through the book. The characters are flawed, but sincere and loveable. Joy and Mark’s love story unfolds like the petals of a fragrant flower. If you like a different twist on a romantic story, you will love this book.
At first glance, Joy Huffman seems to have the perfect life: a loving husband, a baby on the way, a beautiful cabin designed and built for the life they’d soon share. Fate had other plans. On the night she gave birth to her daughter, her husband Steve is killed in a car accident. Joy plunges into a two year tailspin saved only by the need to take care of her child and the support of her grieving mother-in-law. It is only the recurring dreams she has when Steve returns trying to tell her something, trying to draw her to the cabin she’s never seen completed and avoided since his death. When even her baby talks of seeing Steve, Joy feels compelled to go to New Mexico. Accompanied by baby Charity and mother-in-law Evelyn, Joy confronts the possibility that Steve’s death was no accident.
In The Return of Joy, Lynette Endicott creates an evolving storyline peopled with memorable characters and settings so vivid they provide a backdrop as alive as the people. The cabin is like an HGTV Dream Home with a waterfall wall, secret hideaways, and surprises at every turn. It is set in a landscape of mountain and desert splendor near Santa Fe where morning walks with handsome caretaker Mark begin to work their way through Joy’s grief. Hovering over all is the mystery of Steve’s possible murder.
This second of Endicott’s Starting Over series, stands alone but aptly addresses her theme of second chances in life. The reader strongly empathizes with and roots for Joy as she works to earn her second chance. The blend of romance and suspense mixes easily with the deeper work of the plot giving it a substance that lingers in the reader’s memory.
The day of her daughter Charity’s birth, should have been one of the happiest in Joy’s life. And it might have been, except it was the same day she lost her husband Steve. And the same day she lost a big part of herself.
Were it not for her mother in law Joy might have lost herself to the pain completely. But Evelyn had been there to help anchor a young mother to sanity.
Now, two years later, Joy, along with Charity and Evelyn, is taking a step back into the world by taking a trip to the family cabin. The place Steve and Joy built specifically for themselves, but never got to share together.
Joy would rather not go, but the recurring nightmares she’s been having of Steve lead her to believe his death was caused by something more sinister than a simple side-swipe and the answer to the puzzle just might lie in the secret hideaways of the cabin.
At the cabin she meets Mark, who just might be the key to restoring her broken heart. If only Joy will free herself to take the chance. But if Joy doesn’t face Steve’s past, she might not have a future.
The Return of Joy is the second in Lynette Endicott’s Starting Over Series. It has moments or sorrow, suspense and, of course, a Return of Joy.