Kathleen Eagle is one of my very favorite contemporary romance writers. One might say she is a natural born storyteller. Her stories have kept me up late at night. Reason To Believe is no exception. It’s a story of a marriage in trouble which is one of my favorite themes. The story is described this way:
Young lovers from starkly different lives and worlds, Clara and Ben Pipestone came together in passion and in tenderness. But their marriage could not endure deception — or the betrayals of a tormented, searching soul. And now, though time and pain have torn them apart, they reunite for the sake of their troubled teen-aged daughter — embarking upon a rugged winter journey across sacred land in symbolic remembrance of Ben’s Lakota ancestors … and to reclaim something beautiful but lost — and as eternal as the stars.
Ben Pipestone is a recovering alcoholic who has lost his family. He stays alone in a solitary shack and works for his father. A loner trying to get his life back together. These days, Ben is being redemptive and trying his best to reclaim his life and the people he loved most: his daughter Anna and his ex-wife, Clara.
Clara Pipestone is trying to raise her daughter alone but is finding that task a challenge. Her teen-aged daughter is getting into trouble and starting to mimic her father’s problem with alcohol among other things. As a last resort, Clara reaches out to Ben for help. The two have been somewhat estranged for two years. Hurt feelings surface along with anger and regret. However, opportunity arises and gives Ben a shot at a second chance.
There’s a commemorative trail ride to Wounded Knee that Ben takes his family on. Ben is Lakota Sioux and his father is the spiritual elder; Clara along with their daughter go on the trip that marked the massacre of Chief Big Foot’s people in December 1890 . The author goes into the past just a bit to show the beginning of Ben and Clara’s relationship and the troubles that came later. The two come from vastly different worlds. Clara is a middle class white woman who first meets Ben while interviewing his father. Clara keeps coming back to the reservation and eventually she is won over by Ben’s charm. Clara falls hard for Ben and the two eventually marry. Then the dark part comes later with Ben’s drinking and out of control behavior that eventually destroys the marriage.
Kathleen Eagle delivers her trademark story telling along with her sexy, sexual banter that often that can get quite heated. Eagle writes great chemistry and her story is one of redemption and second chances. The redemptive journey and eventual ending may have been a bit too neat in the end but this is fiction after all. The author has rarely disappointed me. Her stories are more true to life than most contemporary romances today. Reason To Believe is a story that you won’t soon forget and one that I highly recommend. What differenciates Eagle’s stories from the rest is that she’s not afraid to tackle some tough issues. So. Next time your in the used bookstore, give this book a try. You won’t regret it. And if you do, don’t tell me about it. This was a keeper for me.