Always in My Heart

( 18 )

Overview

Two years ago, Ellie Grant would have fallen apart at any reminder of her ex-husband, Tucker. But now she doesn't bat an eye when "their song" comes on the radio. She's unfazed by the thought of Tucker's perky new girlfriend. Ellie Grant is over him. And things are better for Tucker as well. The single life agrees with him. And certainly they've both done a good job of being civil to each other, for their sons' sake.

But the kids aren't buying it. Zach and Kody are convinced ...

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Always in My Heart

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Overview

Two years ago, Ellie Grant would have fallen apart at any reminder of her ex-husband, Tucker. But now she doesn't bat an eye when "their song" comes on the radio. She's unfazed by the thought of Tucker's perky new girlfriend. Ellie Grant is over him. And things are better for Tucker as well. The single life agrees with him. And certainly they've both done a good job of being civil to each other, for their sons' sake.

But the kids aren't buying it. Zach and Kody are convinced that, deep down, their parents are still meant to be together. Up to their elbows in scheming and dreaming, the brothers hatch a plan: They'll run away from home into the Oregon wilderness and stay there until their parents agree to get back together. Surely Ellie and Tucker will come to the rescue—and to their senses.

Let the games begin and the sparks fly...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Anderson's newest contemporary romance (after Sweet Nothings) is a maudlin, predictable story that could have been told in half the time it takes here. After their third son dies in a motorcycle accident, Ellie and Tucker Grant drive each other away. Now their surviving sons, Zach and Kody, have run away to an Oregon wilderness area in a last-ditch effort to reunite their grieving parents, who foolishly decide to track them instead of calling in assistance. Ellie and Tucker's reunion is mildly complicated by the presence of new dates (though both are so unpalatable, it's impossible to see why they were attracted to them in the first place); the real obstacle to their relationship, however, is the guilt and recriminations that hang between them. As the situation grows more dire, the author begins inserting clumsy references to God, but parents ultimately find children in a climax that borrows liberally from both Lassie and MacGyver. Throughout the book, Anderson struggles to sustain some kind of tension between her protagonists by frequently dragging their conversation back to the tragedy, but her efforts only end up making Ellie and Tucker seem hateful. With charmless characters, awkward prose and enough guilt to send even the reader into therapy, this derivative effort fails to live up to Anderson's previous books. (Aug. 6) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Ellie and Tucker Grant have adjusted nicely to their divorce and are enjoying their separate lives. Or so they say. Their two teenage sons, however, think that their parents are still in love, and they decide to do something about it. But their plan to force a reconciliation by running away to the Baxter Wilderness Area in Oregon has unintended results, and although everything does eventually work out, it doesn't happen easily. Emotionally involving, family-centered, and relationship oriented, this story is a rewarding read and should strike a chord with parents, divorced or not. Anderson (Sweet Nothings) is a noted author of heartwarming, historical romances; this is one of her recent contemporaries. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
The Barnes & Noble Review

From Eloisa James's "READING ROMANCE" column on The Barnes & Noble Review


I grew up knowing all the connotations of pink, thanks to my feminist mother. Pink was the color of Barbie's shoes, hula hoops, and Pink Floyd, all of which she loathed. And the color of bubble gum and cotton candy, neither of which she allowed (she was an early foodie). But somewhere along the line, pink took on a different connotation: it was adopted by a fierce band of women tackling a devastating disease -- breast cancer. These days, pink is feminine and feminist, the color of women warriors.

This fall Penguin Books has launched a special initiative to promote breast cancer awareness: classic, reissued romances written by Nora Roberts, Bertrice Small, and more, tagged with pink ribbons. I read a few of these novels, and was delighted to find romances with no relation to cotton candy. These are books that tackle life's toughest issues head-on, that depict men and women in hardship, in pain, and in love.

Nora Roberts's Angels Fall is the story of Reece Gilmore, a woman whose life is torn apart by the kind of casual violence that has become seemingly commonplace in America. The sole survivor of a workplace massacre, she suffers from extreme PTSD. Once a promising chef, she now lives hand-to-mouth in a rattling car, hitting the ground every time a truck backfires. When the novel begins, she finds herself in a tiny town, meeting a sardonic, surly writer named Brody, and begins to heal -- until she witnesses a murder. She's already considered a nutcase, so no one believes her, except for Brody. He is the man every woman living through trauma needs at her side. When Reece tries to hide her scars, Brody shocks her out of self-pity by mocking her ears and her skinny hips. He never babies her, but he fights for her, always remembers to lock the doors, and brings her tulips in every color of the rainbow.

Irene Stenson, the heroine of Jayne Ann Krenz's All Night Long, is also haunted by murder -- but in her case, it's the deaths of her mother and father. She discovered their bodies as a teenager, and even now, seventeen years later, she's afraid of the dark, and blood makes her dizzy. Irene never believed the police's verdict of murder/suicide, and she's come home to find out the truth. Along with a murderer, she finds a man who understands, bone-deep, what it is to be scarred by death. Luke Danner is an ex-Marine haunted by the whap-whap-whap of helicopters, unable to take himself out of "battle ready" mode. Luke is a gruff, taciturn man, the kind a woman can lean on, and cry on, and depend on. He's no more social than Brody and he, too, believes Irene when no one else does. In a spinning world, he is, as she says, "sure and true and right."

In Jodi Thomas's Welcome to Harmony, Alex McAllen is the town sheriff -- and a woman given to behavior unbefitting to her uniform. She is so scarred by the guilt she feels for her brother's death that she tends to drink herself insensible on Saturday nights. Luckily for Alex, her brother's best friend, fire chief Hank Matheson, hauls her out of the bar before she goes home with any cowboy who wanders by. In short, Alex's problems aren't small, and Jodi Thomas doesn't minimize them. She is a woman in pain, a woman whose guilt is as crippling as Reece's fear in Angels Fall. Hank becomes her right hand, not only in the bar, but as they tackle a firebug threatening their small town, and his strength gives her the courage to fight on, to accept the past. This novel looks squarely at the fact that despairing people are not always easy to get along with -- nor to love. And yet they need love more than anyone else.

Catherine Anderson's Always in My Heart looks at a pain that is even sharper than that caused by the death of a brother or parent:  two years ago Ellie Grant and her ex-husband Tucker lost their oldest boy Sammy -- and their marriage shortly thereafter. Now they're both trying to mend. Ellie is certain that Tucker's luscious girlfriend Liz doesn't bother her. Tucker thinks Ellie's friend Marvin is a loser, but it's none of his business. The only people who truly don't accept Marvin and Liz are the Grants' two remaining children, Kody and Zach. But it's not until the boys manufacture a way to get Ellie and Tucker into the wilderness together, with time alone, that they discover each other's wracking guilt. Both of them are hiding a heart-breaking secret, and it's Tucker who realizes that they must learn to talk to each other. Even better, he knows exactly the words that will start the healing: "I'll always, always love you…until the rivers stop flowing, and the ocean goes dry." 

Christina Dodd's Ann Smith, in Scent of Darkness, feels unlovable not because of a burden of guilt or sorrow, but because she was convinced as a young girl that she somehow attracts devilish attention -- and that those who love her will die. Thinking that camouflage will work a miracle, she laughs softly, never swears, keeps her virginity, and dresses sedately, hoping to disguise the scary little tattoo she's had from birth, the one that will attract the Evil One and his minions. What she needs is no more than what the other women in these books need: someone who believes her, who loves her, and who is not frightened by her problems. Someone who will stop her from feeling unloved, unwanted, and sorry for herself. In her case, this turns out to be Jasha Wilder. A distant ancestor of Jasha's made a pact with the devil, so her little tattoo is nothing compared to the one that ripples from his shoulder to his waist. He realizes that Ann wouldn't, in his words, recognize love if it dragged her into the forest, but he convinces her:  "Without you, I'm not whole…Maybe you want a stronger man who doesn't need you. But this is the only kind of love I have, and it's yours if you want it."

Sitting across from a doctor when she says the word "cancer" is a moment that no woman forgets. But if that woman happens to have at her shoulder a man like those described in these novels -- the kind who will love her no matter what, who accepts her scars and her guilt and even her drunken Saturday nights -- then she is luckier than she feels. Life spends a good deal of time knocking us down. These novels build a reader back up, giving her the backbone and the courage to go on for another day, without pretending that scars and guilt are easy to ignore, or that they don't mark us as people. That makes them perfect complements to the cause they support.  




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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451206664
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 473,108
  • Product dimensions: 4.44 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Anderson lives in the Oregon mountains with her husband and her Rottweilers, Sam and Sassy, who seem convinced that they are teacup poodles and that obedience training is for people. Catherine spends leisure time with her family and friends, including her sons and daughter-in-law, often discussing intriguing story twists for her books. Such talks can draw curious stares if they happen to take place in a restaurant and involve plotting the demise of a fictitious villain.

An award-winning author of twenty published works, Catherine is currently working on her next full-length romance for Onyx.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2005

    Confusion

    Out of the 6 books from the serious I'd put this one at number 4 out of 6. I loved the attraction and chemistry between Ellie and Tucker. I still do not quite understand why they split instead of working things out but oh well. The MOST confusion part of this serious is I never know when this book took place. It was the third one written in this serious but through out the other books their kids and they are never mentioned together. They have been together forever but what happened between then. This book had to have taken place after 'My Sunshine,' because in the very end it mentions how Tucker is still single. Something happened in between because in that book Tucker is 34 and his a few years older in this one. The only part I DON'T understand is why their 2 kids never visited grandma and grandpa after their parents split. I DO recommend people to read this and tell me what happened or what I missed. Also recommending the rest of the Coulter/Kendrick series.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    Excellent

    I have been a long-time fan of Catherine Anderson's, this book is in my all time top 3! I cried, I laughed, I literally could not put it down. Very enjoyable book!

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  • Posted April 5, 2012

    Catherine Anderson is not good or better...she's the BEST!!!

    You just can't go wrong with a Catherine Anderson read. WARNING: Before reading, be sure your Nook is fully charged! Trust me, you won't put your Nook down until you've read the last page!!!

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  • Posted February 18, 2012

    Catherine Anderson never disappoints

    loved this book. it's a keeper.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2009

    Great reading

    Hated to put this book down. It is a must read for those that believe in love and those that hope for that eternal love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2003

    Not impressed

    Not as impressed as I usually am by her books. It's a miracle I finished it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2002

    Wonderful Story -- True Love Never Dies!

    My first Catherine Anderson book -- I wasn't sure at first if this was going to be an annoying story of a couple of kids trying to get their own way, but as soon as the obnoxious and not so well suited Liz and Marvin exited the scene, I was totally rooting for Tucker and Ellie to get back on track! I found myself crying for them and urging them to find their way home to each other. It was so nice how Anderson gave such vulnerability to the hurting boys. This family did belong together and the hurdles they went through for each other out of pure love proved it. Death does touch all of us in different ways and Anderson brilliantly showed that to the reader. Mentioning God's Will for us just made the story even more touching and drove everything right home. I'm heading back to the store this week to get more Catherine Anderson!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2002

    A wonderful, compelling story!

    This book is an absolute treasure. Catherine Anderson does it again with engaging dialouge and compelling characters. It is a story about two people finding each other again after heartbreak and misunderstandings after 3 years of seperation after their oldest Sammy dies in a motorcycle accident. The story is emotional, tender and at times very humorous. An absolute delight!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2002

    A Great Book!!

    This is the second book I have read of hers and I loved it. I couldn't put it down! This story is about two people who have gone through so much and are tring to go on with there lives until there sons run away and won't come back until there back together. I found myself staying up till 1:30 in the morning still reading because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I highly recomend people to read this book.

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    Posted April 29, 2010

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