Title: LEAVING NOVEMBER
Author: Deborah Raney
Publisher: Howard Fiction
Genre: Inspirational/contemporary romance
Vienne Kenney moved away from Clayburn, Kansas, with no intentions of returning. But after failing the bar exam in California for the second time, Vienne has no choice but to return. After all, her mother has just suffered a severe stroke, Vienne is out of a job, and her mother’s café needs attention.
Jack Linder also left Clayburn. He was involved in an accident that killed his best friend’s wife and son. Feeling responsible for their deaths, Jack turned to alcohol, but went to rehab when his best friend and his mother begged him. Now ten months sober, Jack has no intentions of drinking again, but the good people in Clayburn aren’t so forgiving.
Jack and Vienne are drawn together, but when Vienne discovers Jack’s past, she pushes him away. Can she possibly forgive him enough to pursue a future?
LEAVING NOVEMBER is book two in the Clayburn series but it easily stands alone. I enjoyed getting to know Vienne and Jack and watching their struggles in a small town that doesn’t easily forget or accept change.
Vienne and Jack are both realistic characters that tug at your heart strings. The faith message is weak, but present, with a theme of forgiveness, something we all struggle with at times. Ms. Raney is a gifted storyteller, and this story will definitely stay with you after you finish. Discussion questions and a sample chapter of the next book in this series, Yesterday’s Ember’s is included at the end of the book. $12.99. 356 pages.