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Roberta BlairAlthough the story is a bit contrived in places, this first of the Glenbrook series introduces a cast of likable and enjoyable characters.
— Romantic Times
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Jessica Morgan gripped her car’s steering wheel and read the road sign aloud as she cruised past it. “Glenbrooke, three miles.”
The summer breeze whipped through her open window and danced with the ends of her shoulder-length, honey-blond hair.
“This is it,” Jessica murmured as the Oregon road brought her to the brink of her new life. For months she had planned this step into independence. Then yesterday, on the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, she had hit the road with the back seat of her used station wagon full of boxes and her heart full of dreams.
She had driven ten hours yesterday before stopping at a hotel in Redding, California. After buying Chinese food, she ate it while sitting cross-legged on the bed watching the end of an old black-and-white movie. Jessica fell asleep dreaming of new beginnings and rose at 6:30, ready to drive another nine hours on her birthday.9
I’m almost there, she thought. I’m really doing this! Look at all these trees. This is beautiful. I’m going to love it here!
The country road meandered through a grove of quivering willows. As she passed them, the trees appeared to wave at her, welcoming her to their corner of the world. The late afternoon sun shot between the trees like a strobe light, striking the side of her car at rapid intervals and creating stripes. Light appeared, then shadow, light, then shadow.
As Jessica drove out of the grouping of trees, the road twisted to the right. She veered the car to round the curve. Suddenly the bright sunlight struck her eyes, momentarily blinding her. Swerving to the right to avoid a truck, she felt her front tire catch the gravel on the side of the road. Before she realized what was happening, she had lost control of the car. In one terrifying instant, Jessica felt the car skid through the gravel and tilt over on its side. Her seat belt held her fast as Jessica screamed and clutched the steering wheel. The car tumbled over an embankment, then came to a jolting halt in a ditch about twenty feet below the road. The world seemed to stop.
Jessica tried to cry out, but no sound came from her lips. Stunned, she lay motionless on her side. She quickly blinked as if to dismiss a bizarre daydream that she could snap out of. Her hair covered half her face. She felt a hot, moist trickle coursing down her chin and an acidic taste filling her mouth. I’m bleeding!
Peering through her disheveled hair, Jessica tried to focus her eyes. When her vision began to clear, she could make out the image of the windshield, now shattered, and the mangled steering wheel bent down and pinning her left leg in place.
Suddenly her breath came back, and with her breath came the pain. Every part of her body ached, and a ring of white dots began to spin wildly before her eyes, whether she opened or closed them. Jessica was afraid to move, afraid to try any part of her body and find it unwilling to cooperate.
This didn’t happen! It couldn’t have. It was too fast. Wake up, Jess!
Through all the cotton that seemed to fill her head, Jessica heard a remote crackle of a walkie talkie and a male voice in the distance saying, “I’ve located the car. I’m checking now for survivors. Over.”
I’m here! Down here! Help! Jessica called out in her head. The only sound that escaped her lips was a raspy, “Ahhgg!” That’s when she realized her tongue was bleeding and her upper lip was beginning to swell.
“Hello in there,” a male voice said calmly. The man leaned in through the open driver’s window, which was now above Jessica on her left side. “Can you hear me?”
“Yeath,” Jessica managed to say, her tongue swelling and her jaw beginning to quiver. She felt cold and shivered uncontrollably.
“Don’t try to move,” the deep voice said. “I’ve called for help. We’ll get you out of there. It’s going to take a few minutes, now, so don’t move, okay?”
Jessica couldn’t see the man’s face, but his voice soothed her. She heard scraping metal above her, and then a large, steady hand touched her neck and felt for her pulse.
“You had your seat belt on. Good girl,” he said. The walkie talkie crackled again, this time right above her.
“Yeah, Mary,” the man said. “We have one female, midtwenties, I’d say. Condition is stable. I’ll wait for the ambulance before I move her. Over.”
Jessica felt his hand once more, this time across her cheek as he brushed back her hair. “How ya’ doin’? I’m Kyle. What’s your name?”
“Jethica,” she said, her tongue now throbbing. From the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of dark hair and a tanned face.
“I saw your car just as it began to roll. Must have been pretty scary for you.”
Jessica responded with a nod and realized she could move her neck painlessly. She slowly turned her head and looked up into her rescuer’s face. Jessica smiled with surprise and pleasure when she saw his green eyes, straight nose, windblown dark hair, and the hint of a five o’clock shadow across his no-nonsense jaw. With her smile came a stabbing throb in her top lip and the sensation of blood trickling down her chin.
“So, you can move a little, huh?” Kyle said. “Let’s try your left arm. Good! That’s great. How do your legs feel?”
Jessica tried to answer that the right one felt okay, but the left one was immobile. Her words came out slurred. She wasn’t sure exactly what she said. Her jaw was really quivering now, and she felt helpless.
“Just relax,” Kyle said. “As soon as the guys arrive with the ambulance, we’ll get you all patched up. I’m going to put some pressure on your lip now. Try breathing slowly and evenly like this.” Kyle leaned toward her. His face was about six inches from hers. He began to breathe in slowly through his nose and exhale slowly through his mouth. The distinct smell of cinnamon chewing gum was on his breath, which she found strangely comforting.
Jessica heard the distant wail of an approaching siren. Within minutes she was in the middle of a flurry of activity. Some of the men began to stabilize the car while several others cut off the door to have more room to reach her. Soon a team of steady hands undid Jessica’s seat belt, removed the steering wheel, and eased her body onto a long board. They taped her forehead to the board so she couldn’t move her head, and one of the men wrapped her in a blanket. They lifted the stretcher and with sure-footed steps walked up the embankment and carried her to the ambulance.
Jessica felt as if her eyelids weighed a hundred pounds. They clamped shut as her throbbing head filled with questions.
Why? Why me? Why now, right on the edge of my new beginning?
With a jolt, the men released the wheeled legs on the stretcher and slid Jessica into the back of the ambulance. One of them reached for her arm from underneath the blanket, and running a rough thumb over the back of her left hand, he asked her to make a fist.
Another paramedic spoke calmly, a few inches from her head, “Can you open your eyes for me? That’s good. Now can you tell me where it hurts the most?”
“My leg,” Jessica said.
“It’s her left one.” Jessica recognized Kyle’s strong voice. His hand reached over and pressed against her upper lip once more.
The siren started up, and the ambulance lurched out onto the road and sped toward the Glenbrooke hospital.
As the stretcher jostled in the ambulance, the paramedic holding Jessica’s left hand said, “Keep your fist. This is going to pinch a little bit.” And with that an IV needle poked through the bulging vein on the top of her hand.
“Ouch,” she said weakly.
She felt a soft cloth on her chin and lips and opened her eyes all the way. Kyle smiled at her. With one hand he pressed against her lip, and with the other he wiped the drying blood from her cheek and chin.
“Can you open your mouth a little? I need to put this against your tongue,” he said, placing a swab of cotton between her tongue and cheek. “The bleeding looks like it’s about to stop in there. Now if we can only get your lip to cooperate, you’ll be in good shape. We’ll be at the hospital in a few minutes. You doing okay?”
Jessica tried to nod her head, but the tape across her forehead held her firmly in place. She forced a crooked, puffycheeked smile beneath the pressure of his hand on her lip.
Jessica felt ridiculous, trying to flirt in her condition. Here was the most handsome, gentle man she had ever laid eyes on, and she was a helpless mess.
He’s probably married and has six kids. These guys are trained to be nice to accident victims.
Posted February 27, 2010
What I love about this book and Robin Jones Gunn in general is how all her characters are related. It makes me happy when I get to see what happens in the life of a friend of Christy Miller. I feel like I get to invest in her world and that I will hear little updates of characters that I have grown to love. Teri, who we met back in high school on the cheer leading squad. Is now a teacher in Glenbrook. Secrets isn't her story though. This book's focus is on Jessica. I feel so bad for Jessica, she just wants to live her own life and is constantly stuck since she is scared to let people in.I feel like I get to invest in her world and that I will hear little updates of characters that I have grown to love.
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Posted September 18, 2014
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings
The first in a series that has been out for awhile, but has been recovered and redesigned and re-released. I like being able to read the first in a series and trying to decide if it is one to keep reading on - especially when there are many books to follow and they are all already out!
Jessica has moved to this small town to start anew and she has brought in her bag some secrets and of course the reader doesn't get the secrets unveiled to them until the last 50 pages, it was hard to wait that long. The love story was sweet and although they are adults, it reminded me of the love people have in high school - innocent and sweet.
Posted February 21, 2014
Posted January 6, 2014
Posted July 9, 2013
Robin Jones Gunn is my favorite author and wrights fabulous books!!!! I would recommend her books for tweens up to young adult women. Her books focus on God and girls as they're going through life and tough decisions. These books have really inspired and comforted me as I'm going through one of my confusing stages in life!!!! I would definately recommend all of Robin's books!!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 21, 2013
This was my first Christian fiction book and I really like it! I read a lot of Christian non-fiction books and never really thought of reading a fiction, but it was surprisingly entertaining and I will definitely be reading more. The story is about a woman named Jessica. Unlike a lot of fiction books that spend a lot of time describing scenery, history, and the like, this book delved right into the story plot from the first page and I was hooked. Jessica is running away from something or someone. She ends up in a little town named Glenbrooke where some are out to get her, while others help carry her burdens through Christ. I was curious as to how the author was going to tie this suspenseful story line with romance and God. But, she did and did a wonderful job. The book is suspenseful with a bit of romance and the awesomeness of God and His work in our lives.
I particularly like the quote of one of the characters in the book, "It seems as if God has been rather obstinate about bringing me back into the fold." "He is pretty relentless, isn't he?" There are parts of the book that gave me goosebumps, knowing that was the hand of God working in Jessica's life. I didn't realize this was a series and this is the first book in the series. So the story of the people in this quiet town of Glenbrooke will continue on and those people will have their own story to tell. WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing group has provided me with this book complimentary for review purposes.
Posted March 16, 2013
booksbysteph say "fun, fast and whimsy"
Jessica Morgan is a 25 year old runaway. She arrives in Glenbrooke with a positive attitude. Wind in her hair, the sun is shining and she has a smile on her face. Until she rounds a curve and the bright sun blinds her vision. Almost hitting another vehicle, Jessica swerves, hits the gravels and her car flips over and rolls into a ditch. Local firefighter, Kyle Buchanan, sees the accident and attends to Jessica, keeping her calm and safe, until the paramedics arrive.
This was not the way she wanted to arrive in Glenbrooke. She wanted to blend in. She did not want people to know who she was, even using the last name Fenton. However, the more she becomes involved in the lives of the people of Glenbrooke, Jessica doesn't know how much longer she can keep her secret and is afraid of the repercussions when people find out. Jessica starts to push people away, but some people just won't leave her alone.
I GIVE THIS BOOK: 4 out of 5 stars
Like the other books in The Glenbrooke Series, this book stands alone. Though, being the first in the series, it is a good book to start with.
I like the issues in this book and they correlate with this being the first in the series. It is about going out on your own for the first time. Leaving the comfort of home to become an independent person. Having accidents happen. Being at the lowest in your life, overcoming obstacles and rising out of the ashes.
This book also reminds me of the phrase, secrets don't make friends. In this book, you learn that you don't have to bear your burdens by yourself. There are people in the world that do nice things because that's who they are and they expect nothing in return. That's a hard lesson for Jessica to learn.
Until next time, live life one page at a time!
Posted March 13, 2013
Robin Jones Gunn
Book Description: The Glenbrooke Series Jessica ran from her past...but can she hide from love? Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the place to start over—Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets—including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her. Will Jessica’s deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all? This heartwarming bestseller, book one in the Glenbrooke series, introduces the fascinating people of Glenbrooke in a compelling tale of romance and spiritual truth.
Review: I enjoyed this book the first time I read it and again this time. It was the first Christian fiction book I ever bought and for that alone means a lot to me. I loved the mystery that surrounds this character and the people, some of whom become lead characters later. This was a soothing story for anyone who was or is wayward in life, faith or with others. I liked and continue to use index cards with scripture on them. To this day it is one of my favorite things to do and use for book markers and to memorize. I thought the story line was well developed and the main characters well written. I am glad that I had another chance to read this story.
I would like to thank Blogging for books and Waterbrook for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
Posted February 24, 2013
I've long been a fan of Robin Jones Gunn—like since middle school! I read most of The Glenbrooke Series a few years after they originally released and was excited to see that WaterBrook Multnomah has recently re-released them with updated covers. I thought it was high time to go back for a visit to Glenbrooke and am so glad I did!
Secrets is the first book in the series. Jessica arrives in Glenbrooke looking for a new start. It seems like bad things continually happen to Jessica upon her arrival and she questions her choices. Slowly but surely, though, her new friends start getting through her self-imposed defenses and she realizes that she must trust others—and most importantly, God—to help her as she faces trials.
While this book may be "old," the timeless messages of trusting in God and the need for relationships come through loud and clear. I think Jessica's desire for independence and resistance to asking for help are characteristics that many readers will be able to relate to. And the way that various characters throughout the book come to her aid and teach her about having a relationship with the Lord is both genuine and heartfelt. The romance between Jessica and Kyle is so sweet, even if it developed a little quickly for my tastes. Overall, the story is very touching, and I am happy to recommend Secrets to readers of all ages—from high school to adults. [4 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Posted February 12, 2013
Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn was a very fun story to read. Gunn did a great job developing the characters from the beginning of this story. Jessica, a woman on the run, from what we don’t know, gets into a terrible accident on her way to Glenbrook, a small town in Oregon. She is rescued by Kyle, a fireman, and whisked off to the hospital. When she comes around, she realizes that she has just begun her new life, in her new town, and absolutely nothing is going right. She has $12.00 to her name when she leaves the hospital, and a house to rent that she has never seen nor does she know where it is.
Jessica has a job to be a teacher at the high school, but from day one the new principal of the school has it out for her. Jessica has to defend herself daily to this principal while keeping her secrets from others around her. She begins to form a relationship with some of the students and travels with them to Mexico to work at an orphanage building a church. It is here, where she accepts the Lord as her Savior, and begins to open her eyes to the secrets she is holding onto in her life.
Secrets is well written, however, when I found out what the secret actually was, I felt a little let down. The chemistry between the characters was fun to read about though and the overall storyline was good.
Posted February 8, 2013
Jessica ran from her past...But can she hide from love?
Jessica Morgan (or Jessica Fenton as the citizens of Glenbrooke know her) is a twenty five year old runaway with a complicated past.
In an attempt to escape her old ghosts, she seeks refuge in a small town in Oregon where she has landed a job as a high school English teacher.
However, her plans are derailed when her car spins out of control and down a bank on the way to her new home. She is discovered by a sturdy firefighter, Kyle Buchanan, whom Jessica regrettably finds all too attractive.
As her life is turned upside down and inside out, Kyle sticks by Jessica's side, softening her heart to love and to the God who created it.
What I Liked: I'm a sucker for a good God-driven romance. And this book definitely had plenty of that to offer. Kyle was a wonderful example of a modern-day man of God. He shows Jessica, and everyone else around him, unconditional Agape love. This book also provides a generous amount of encouragement for anyone who is struggling with personal issues, be it relationships or a sordid past; Robin Jones Gunn does a wonderful job of relaying the message of God's love and acceptance to the broken and beaten-down.
What I Wasn't So Fond Of: I felt like the beginning of the story (Jessica's arrival and first few days in Glenbrooke) was dragged out a bit unnecessarily, and likewise, the ending portion of the book was rushed. I would have liked to have seen Jessica and Kyle's relationship develop more in-depth. Also, minor spoilers I was a bit disappointed in Jessica's secret. The author led us to believe in the beginning of the story that Jessica was hiding a dark past, but I didn't find that to necessarily be the case.
Overall, I truly enjoyed reading Robin Jones Gunn's novel Secrets, and I am absolutely looking forward to reading the rest of the Glenbrooke Series!
Posted February 7, 2013
i HAD A GREAT TIME WITH THIS BOOK AND EVEN READ ALOUD TO MY SIMPLY UNIQUE 12 YR OLD TWIN BOYS AND 16 YR OLD DAUGHTER WHOM ALL SAT VERY STILL FOR THE LISTEN.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 29, 2012
I was introduced to Robin Jones Gunn when I had the pleasure of reading her Sisterchicks series and now I’m pleased to know that I can continue to enjoy Robin’s writing in the Glenbrooke series. Secrets as the title asserts is about secrets – how they can destroy, how they can kill and ultimately how letting go of secrets can set one free so they are able to live the life God intended for them to live. As the book begins Jessica is mad at God – she can’t seem to understand why a loving God would let bad things happen, and bad things had happened to Jessica – but as the book unwinds Jessica’s struggle eventually ends, however I’m not going to totally spoil it by telling you how her struggle ends.
There were some slow moments but if you keep going through and reading toward the end you’ll be well rewarded for the effort and I think the slow moments made it seem more real, as not every day in my life is full of climatic events! This book is written by a Christian author and published by a Christian publishing house so before reading it be aware of that – there will be Christian themes of faith and belief in in – but for me that makes it all the more inspiring and relevant to my life. I will say I was expecting a BIG secret like she was running from and abusive ex-boyfriend or she had killed someone but the secret isn’t as horrible and is almost innocent once it’s figured out. I can’t wait to read the other books in this series!
**Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from Blogging For Books through Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest opinon, no other compensation was given.
Posted December 19, 2012
Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn
Jessica ran from her past... but can she hide from love?
Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon's Willamette Valley as the place to start over---Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from everyone she meets---including the compassionate paramedic who wants to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her.
Will Jessica's deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all?
All in all this book proved to be an enjoyable read. At first there were a few things that bugged me, such as the overuse of Jessica's name when "she" or "her" could have been used instead, and the fact that the second sentence in the book reads "The summer breeze whipped through her open window and danced with the ends of her shoulder-length, honey-blond hair." yet on the cover of the book is a woman with dark brown, if not black hair! Things like that tend to bug me, but it was really only irritating through the first little bit of the book. After a while I got swept into the story and didn't notice them. This book was fairly well written, and I would read more from this author.
Posted July 7, 2010
Can you ever really run from your past? Can you hide from love? Jessica Morgan wants to forget the past and start over. She finds Glenbrooke, a peaceful little town in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, that suits her just fine. She uses a different last name as she begins meeting the people of Glenbrooke. Jessica hopes no one will discover her real last name as that could cause a lot of problems.
A couple of the more interesting people she meets are Kyle, the paramedic/firefighter who wants to protect her; Charlotte, the jealous principle who has it in for Jessica; and Teri, a fellow teacher who quickly becomes Jessica's best friend.
Kyle, along with being a firefighter/paramedic, also works with the teenagers in his church. He really feels led to reach out to this age group. He and Teri invite Jessica to go along on a mission trip to Mexico. She hesitates at first but due to the urging of one of the young girls, decides to go.
While she's gone, Charlotte does some "digging" and gets a little too close to the truth about Jessica. At Kyle's insistence, Jessica goes back to California to talk to her father.
What happens next? You'll have to read the book to find out!
Robin has written very believable characters. They are a lot like you and me. I could definitely picture myself in Glenbrooke along with Jessica, Kyle, Teri, and yes, even Charlotte. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it! I am looking forward to the next in this series!!
I won my copy of this book in an online contest. This review is my honest opinion.
Posted February 25, 2010
I Also Recommend:
Author Robin Jones Gunn started out writing articles and children's' books, and then was persuaded to write teen fiction. Secrets is her first adult novel and it kicks off "The Glenbrooke Series." Honestly, after I read the summary I thought the book would be decent but I wasn't overly excited to read it. Main character Jessica is looking for a new life in a small town, but will her secret keep her from the new start she dreams of? Throughout the book I could not for the life of me figure out what that secret was. The plot is good, the characters and relationships are intriguing, and I was hooked. I could not set this book down. I particularly enjoyed the small touch of romance throughout the story. I wanted to know what would happen next, what Jessica's secret was, and what would happen between Jessica and the fireman that saved her. I'm thrilled that this is only one of a series and can't wait to read the next. I like the fact that the next book is about a different character from this story, however I do hope I still get to read about the same characters as well. I'm invested.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 24, 2010
Jessica does what many would love to do, run from the past. She takes refuge in a small town thinking that a simple life will give her a place to start over. She conceals her identity and jumps in to a new life only to find that her old life is not far behind waiting to be revealed.
This book centers on spiritual truth along with romance and redemption. Another book that teaches the past is to be dealt with and not neatly tucked away in a box marked "Do Not Open." Fast moving and keeps your interest, this is a great read for those needing a spring break.
Posted February 22, 2010
Secrets By Robin Jones Gunn
I absolutely loved this book and could see reading this over spring break or on a beach in the summer. For the price point on these Christian based romance novels you can't do wrong as well as the content of the story. These are both books I have passed along to my oldest teen daughter, who like me, is a die hard, hopeless, romantic at heart.
This story is about a young girl, Jessica, who suddenly finds herself in falling in love with a firefighter after just moving into a small town in Oregon. She longs to just lose herself in the small town life and seeks a job as a teacher in the local high school. Yet it seems like God has different plans for Jessica, and no matter how hard she tries to hide the secrets of her past, they won't stay hidden.
I don't want to ruin any part of the story for you but this one had me hooked from the very beginning and I completed it in a few short hours. The best part I love about this book is it's ability to remove you from your current place in time, and transport you someplace else while you are immersed in the story.
If you are interested in finding about more about the author and where you can purchase this book, I have provided you with a link below.
Value Fiction For Your Spring Break
Colorado Springs, CO- Fiction lovers don't need to budget to travel this spring break with Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group's six full-length novels by beloved Christian authors (WaterBrook, February 16, 2010). At the low cost of only $5.99, these well-read "get-aways" provide quality entertainment at a price that any reader can afford.
I was provided with a complimentary copy of Secrets from Robin Jones Gunn to review for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Posted February 22, 2010
I enjoyed reading this book; it was entertaining and interesting. I happen to have a habit of finding new (to me) book series either at their middle or end but this time, I read book one in the Glenbrooke series and I'm so glad I did. I can't wait to read the other books in this series!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2010
This is the first book that I've read written by Robin Jones Gunn. It is always a thrilling experience to discover a new author that is established and already has books that have been published. This is how I felt after reading "Secrets". I couldn't wait to get a hold of another of Robins books.
This is the first book of a series and was first published in 1995. It is being republished in trade paperback as well as ebook format and will be available by Feburary 16. There are seven other titles already published in the Glennbrooke series so I have others to look forward to reading.
In "Secrets" Jessica Morgan is running from something - but what is it? She hopes to start a new life in Glenbrooke along with a new identity. The one friend she has in town, but school principle, who has hired her as a teacher, has had a stroke and will not be able to help her. On her way into town she has a wreck and spends time in the hospital. Not a very good beginning to her new life. However, the paramedic she meets seems drawn to her as well as she to him. She wonders what he would think if he knew she was hiding a secret.
In the end Jessica learns that she has made a mistake by trying to hide from her past and begin a new life based on lies. You will be turning the pages to continue the up and down saga of Jessica in the town of Glenbrooke and meet a host of friends that come to love Jessica.