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Almost from the day she was born - in 1901 in McDade, Texas - Sunny Delony adored her first cousin, Gil. Their mothers are sisters and raised their ...
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Almost from the day she was born - in 1901 in McDade, Texas - Sunny Delony adored her first cousin, Gil. Their mothers are sisters and raised their children as if they were siblings, with all the teasing, wrestling, and running wild.
Sunny can't say exactly when their puppy love turned into the full-blown grown-up kind, but before she was fifteen - and Gil seventeen - she knew something had changed. Her mother and aunt knew it, too. They wasted no time preaching right from wrong and describing the consequences of what they deemed "incest."
Taking those warnings to heart, Gil volunteered for the army. While he was fighting France, Sunny married a local boy, only the first in a string of mistakes that lead to broken hearts, broken marriages, lost lives, family condemnation, financial ruin, exile. Ultimately, their passion caused them to flee for their lives and those of their children. But somehow, wrong always felt right to Sunny and Gil.
Right from Wrong is a beautiful - and wrenching - love story.
a novel by Cindy Bonner
Sunny was right where Gil had left her, nose red from the cold, eyes red, too, but she wasn't crying anymore. He was glad of that much. But the swollen place on her cheekbone made him want to hunt down that bastard husband of hers and gut him like a fish. The suit coat belonged to Gabe O'Barr, lent to Gil by Gabe's mother, and the sleeves hung so long on Sunny she looked like her hands were missing. It brought an image to Gil's mind of some of those boys on the ship coming back. Her fingertips emerged when she lifted her arms to take the baby against her and the image receded.
"Thank you," she murmured, and folded a flap of the coat around Isabel's little head.
Even after all the work he'd put in on the Hudson that afternoon, the damned thing wouldn't start. He'd spent three hours at Uncle Dane's workbench cleaning the carburetor with spirit oil, taking it apart, putting it back together again, but the choke still wouldn't close right. He got out in the stinging wind and shut it manually, and when the car still wouldn't start, he let loose with a string of swearwords before he remembered Sunny sitting beside him.
"Well," she said. "I guess they taught you how to cuss over there."
She shrugged and turned her attention back on the baby, patting her to sleep.
The car finally fired up on the tenth try and held. He pumped the accelerator to prime the carburetor. He checked to see if the air register beneath Sunny's feet was open to let in the heat funneled back from the radiator. "It'll warm up in here in a minute," he said, holding his hand hat toward the floor, but he might as well have been talking to himself. She was staring off out her window. He shifted into gear and moved the car from the church lot.
In the dim glow from the dashboard, he could see that her jaw had also swollen out of shape. That place on her cheekbone was high enough to creep into a shiner. Everybody would know then that her pissant husband had smacked her. He didn't think Uncle Dane would tolerate a shiner on her, no more than Gil himself planned to. Uncle Dane kept a shotgun in his barn, a heavy-bore, single-barrel shotgun that would even up the odds if that little bastard's brother or his buddy tried to involve themselves.
The wind was vicious and it took both hands to hold the car on the road. He tried to keep an eye out for ruts, but it was hard with Sunny tugging at his concentration. The tires hit a few.
The silence between them seemed to gather its own momentum, and he knew if he didn't speak soon the opportunity would be lost. He said, "Is it because of how he looks? Blond hair and blue eyes?"
She turned her face toward him, coming out of whatever trance she'd been in. "What?"
"He treats you like dirt. And if he's got any brains, he doesn't show it. So I figure it must be his looks." Gil almost missed a curve watching for her answer. He had to oversteer to keep the car on the road. "So tell me what you see in him. Give me something to go on."
She bent toward the baby in her lap. "He never lifted a hand to me before."
"Well, now he has. And that'll make it easier for him next time. And before you know it, he'll be slapping you around whenever he feels like it. Any time you don't answer him quick enough, or he doesn't like what you have to say."
They came up on the last turn to the farm and he wasn't ready to be there yet. He still had things to say, questions to ask her, answers to hear. And he knew once they got there she'd go running off into her room, avoiding him like she'd been doing since he arrived. So he pulled the car over to the side of the road. The headlamps caught tufts of muley grass lying supine in the fierce wind.
He took the car out of gear and let up on the clutch. He couldn't stand too much of that clutch. He massaged his left thigh, kept his right foot on the brake. "Grab yourself some sense, Sunny, and quit him. Do it right now."
She patted her baby's back, but it had become more like a nervous tic than necessary. Isabel was fast asleep, and Sunny's eyes were fastened on him. "It's none of your business, Gil."
"Well, maybe I'll make it my business. Uncle Dane offered to lease me a piece of the Kennedy tract. Maybe I'll just take him up on it."
"What? Why would you do that? You hate farming."
"Yeah, that was my first thought, too. But now I don't know. Maybe it's not such a bad idea. Got no other prospects looming on my horizon. And it seems like you need somebody around here looking out for you."
She stared at him, then she tucked Isabel against her shoulder and reached for the door lever. "Thanks for bringing me home. I can walk from here."
He grabbed her before she could get the door open. "Dammit, Sunny, stop acting like you don't know me."
"Quit trying to butt in, Gil!"
The baby went to fussing at the loud talk and at getting jostled around. Sunny took up her patting again, faster and harder, but at least she settled back from the door. He left his arm resting on the seat behind her, watched her calm Isabel down again. He quelled the urge to apologize.
"I don't know what you expect of me," he said, speaking quieter. "When I think about you going around with a guy like that-"
"I'm not going around with him. He's my husband."
"You know what I mean." He let his hand touch her shoulder. He could feel her bones, small and fragile, through the thick wool of the jacket. "You were supposed to wait for me."
"You told me to forget you."
"No, I did not say that."
"To stop thinking about you, then. It's the same thing." She dropped her head back against the seat of the car and his arm, as if she were too tired to use her neck anymore. Little Isabel had gone back to sleep, and a tear glittered down Sunny's face.
A sharp gust rocked the car, whistled around the windows. He reached across and gentled his thumb along the curve of her throat. She didn't move. "So did you?" he said. "Stop thinking about me?"
She kept on staring at the roof of the car, her neck ivory white and smooth. She swallowed and turned her face toward him. Later he would try to remember if he kissed her first or if she kissed him, but whichever the case, passion took control of it. He remembered the taste of her lips, the desire she roused in him. He pulled her closer and he never even felt his foot leave the brake pedal.
The road at that particular spot was fairly level, but with a subtle slope to the ditch for drainage. Gil had stopped the car a little to the right of the center, so there was a slight incline, just enough to start the rotation of the wheels. That afternoon he had set the idle higher to compensate for the temperamental choke, and without his foot on the brake to hold the car back, they went bouncing out into the ditch, up onto the other side, and smacked into a barbed-wire fence. Luckily it didn't take but a second or two for Gil's reflexes to recover. Any longer and they might have plowed right through that fence and into Ezra Hennesey's cow pasture.
"Are you OK?" he said, after he had bucked the car to a halt. Sunny had a tight hold on little Isabel, but the baby didn't appear to have even awakened. A feisty Boston terrier-type dog came woofng out onto the road at them.
Sunny laughed, a releasing kind of laugh, the same way she had laughed at his teasing her during the pageant. The sound of it sent his heart beating again. He almost forgot that the car was spraddling the ditch and reached to pull her back in his arms. Out on the road, the terrier kept raising hell.
"Mr. Hennesey'll be coming out any minute." She sounded gleeful and mischievous. She tugged away. "Can you get us out of here?"
He touched her hair, kissed her baby's head, and shifted the Hudson into reverse. The wheels spun dust for a second before they caught hold. The barbed wire scraped a long, screaming gash down the side, but the car needed a new paint job anyway. He shifted gears again and pulled out onto the road.
Copyright (c) 1999 by Cindy Bonner. All rights reserved.
Posted February 26, 2003
This book captivated me right from the start. I believe it to be the best book that i've read in a long while. I recommend it to anyone with an open heart. As I was reading I think for an instant that i became Sunny...longing to turn the page to enjoy the rest of their life together, tragic ending yet "If two people love eachother, there shall be no happy end to it."-Hemmingway. The characters were just spellbinding, I recommend, once again: READ IT!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 12, 2001
'Right From Wrong' was by far one of my favorites. The book keeps the reader's full interest from the sweet beggining to the tragic end. The author truly captures every emotion, willing it into you throughout the whole book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.