"An Accidental Woman"
(Reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer JUL 9, 2002)
"It was a car, moving very slowly down the snow-crusted drive toward the small house that Micah had built for his family. Get out of bed, cried a silent voice, but he remained inert. Barely breathing, he listened. Not one car. Two. They inched their way closer, then stopped. Their engines were still."
Heather Malone and her beloved Micah Smith are awakened one morning by the FBI. They think Heather is another woman entirely, a Lisa Matlock, a woman wanted for the hit and run murder of a powerful politician's son. No one in the peaceful small town of Lake Henry believes that the Heather they know could be capable of raising her voice, let along murder. But is she the Heather they know? Heather refuses to say a word on the subject, aside from "I am Heather Malone." Poppy Blake, Heather's best friend, isn't sure. Loyal to the core and unwilling to admit that the allegations might be true, she still wonders why no one, not even the man who loves her, knows a single thing about her past. She is forced to consider things even closer when she is given pictures of Lisa Matlock, pictures that make Heather look like Lisa's twin.
Griffin Huges is shocked when he sees the breaking news of Heather's arrest on TV. His brother is a member of the FBI's cold case squad, and one day, seeing a picture of Lisa on his brothers wall, he makes an offhand comment about having seen a woman who looked just like her recently. He feels terribly guilty about the fact his brother took the comment to heart, and heads to Lake Henry, where he will put all of his considerable resources to use to help Heather. His guilt isn't the only reason he returns to Lake Henry. A few months back, he met Poppy, and has tried to date her. She has reservations. An accident twelve years ago caused her to lose the use of her legs. Her guilt at surviving the accident while her lover did not, and the fear of reaching out for the things she wants and failing make her reluctant to pursue anything with Griffin.
Though the book starts with Heather and Micah, the focus quickly shifts, and stays mostly with Poppy and Griffin. Their relationship is wonderful, because he is romantic without being condescending. Poppy is a unique character because she wants to love him so badly, but her guilt holds her back. She doesn't feel like she deserves to have all these wonderful normal things, and, she thinks that Griffin will get sick of her, or disgusted with dealing with her disability. Despite these things she is very strong. She has made a vital and pleasant life for herself. She runs an answering service for the town, and is a beloved and important member. She usually doesn't let anything stand in her way --- usually.
Another interesting part of this book is the fact that Micah raises surgarbush for a living. The process of taking the sap and making it into maple syrup is actually very interesting, and gives Micah something to do while he waits to find out what will happen to Heather. Micah's determination actually tells us more about the type of character he is than anything else. The sap collecting also gives Griffin a way to show us how decent he is, since he goes out and helps Micah for free, and when adversity strikes the business, it gives the town a chance to come together. The main story has a counterpoint tale to it, about hunting for Griffin's sister, Cindy, who has left the family and disappeared. His search for her and his search for Lisa make an interesting point about why people feel the need to leave everything behind and become untraceable.
I thought this was a very pleasant read. It is much more of a romance than a mystery, although the reasons for Lisa's actions are understandable and interestingly uncovered.
- Amazon readers rating:from 42 reviews
Read an excerpt from An Accidental Woman at MostlyFiction.com
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- Pictures of You (1981) (aka The Passionate Touch)
- Silken Sands (1981) (aka Surrender By Moonlight)
- Call My Name (1982) (aka Whispered Promise)
- Hold My Heart (1982)
- Amber's Embrace (1982) (aka Amber Enchantment)
- Love Songs (1982, 1983) (2-in-1 Up All Night and Sweet Serenity)
- Don't Tempt Me (1983) (aka The Silver Fox)
- Home Fires (1983)
- What the Waves Bring (1983) (aka Lover From The Sea)
- Twilight Whispers (1985)
- First Things First (1985)
- The Scent of Jasmine (1985) (aka Jasmine Sorcery)
- Straight from the Heart (1986)
- Warm Hearts (1987) (2-in-1 Heat Wave and A Special Something)
- Commitments (1988)
- Heart of the Night (1989)
- Facets (1991)
- A Woman Betrayed (1991)
- More Than Friends (1991)
- The Forever Instinct (1992)
- The Passions of Chelsea Kane (1992)
- For My Daughters (1994)
- Suddenly (1995)
- Together Alone (1995)
- Shades of Grace (1997)
- A Woman's Place (1996)
- Lake News (1999)
- The Vineyard (2000)
- The Woman Next Door (2001)
- An Accidental Woman (2002)
- Flirting With Pete (J2003)
- The Summer I Dared (2004)
- Looking for Peyton Place (2005)
- Family Tree (2007)
- The Secret Between Us (2008)
- While My Sister Sleeps (2009)
- Not My Daughter (2010)
- Escape (2011)
- Sweet Salt Air (June 2013)
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About the Author:
Barbara Delinsky is the New York Times bestselling author of more than seventy novels. After starting in the field of romance, she moved into mainstream fiction.
Barbara Delinsky was born and raised in suburban Boston. A lifelong New Englander, she and her husband, a lawyer, have three grown sons and two daughters-in-law. The couple divide their time between their suburban Boston home and a lake house in New Hampshire.