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The Truth About Love & Lightning    by Susan McBride order for
Truth About Love & Lightning
by Susan McBride
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Gretchen Brinks has lived with her twin sisters Bennie and Trudy on the farm in Walnut Ridge, Missouri since their mother Annika deserted them when the twins were just thirteen years old. Gretchen's sisters were born blind, but that didn't slow them down at all. Bennie's acute sense of hearing and Trudy's ability to detect the slightest smell, as well as their innate intelligence, gave them the ability to manage their lives as well as most sighted people do. Gretchen had moved to the farm before her mother left, when Annika kicked her out after discovering that the sixteen-year-old was pregnant.

Her best friend, Sam Winston, had grown up on the farm, and his parents not only welcomed Gretchen into their lives but also left the farm to her after they died, secure in the knowledge that her baby was the child of their son Sam. Sam, who seems to have inherited from his grandfather the unusual ability to cause rainstorms, had gone on a missionary trip to Africa shortly after Gretchen learned that she was expecting, but he went missing while he was there and never returned.

What started as the smallest of white lies began to be a problem for Gretchen forty years later. Sam was not really the father of her unborn child, but with him gone and later missing, Gretchen saw no harm in letting the Winstons believe that her baby was their only link to their beloved son. Inheriting the small farm wasn't really a big deal either, after the walnut trees stopped producing. Gretchen and her sisters managed to support themselves in a frugal manner by selling crafts in a small shop in the nearby town, and baby Abby grew up in a rural haven with a mother and two loving aunts looking after her.

Lies do have a way of sometimes becoming surprising problems for those who tell them. After a freak tornado strikes the farm, Gretchen discovers a man with amnesia lying hurt in the walnut grove - he bears a striking resemblance to Sam Winston. Later that same day, her daughter Abby arrives home to announce her pregnancy and her estrangement from her long time boyfriend. Because she has treasured pictures of him, Abby notices how much the strange man looks like the man she believes to be her missing father. Suddenly Gretchen finds herself overwhelmed by her own feelings for the lost Sam, the hope that this stranger might be Sam, and the fear that if it is, her daughter is going to discover that he wasn't really her father and blame Gretchen for lying to her.

The Truth About Love & Lightning is a delightful love story with a little bit of magic thrown in. Instead of destroying her life, Gretchen's one big mistake as a teenager helped her to grow into a resourceful and competent adult who finds joy in selflessly caring for others. The other characters provide an interesting back-story to hers that kept me reading and wondering what was going to happen next. This is an enjoyable and fun book with unusual plot twists and lots of surprises along the way.

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