The You I Never Knew

( 33 )

Overview

Michelle thought she had lost everything at 17. Her father, a Hollywood legend, had summoned her to his Montana ranch. When he had learned of his daughter's affair with a hired hand, he had fired him and destroyed his family. Michelle, pregnant, had fled to Seattle. Years have passed. Her son is lost to her. Her father needs her.

Wiggs's sensitive portrayal of parents and lovers trying to bond despite a less-than-perfect past exemplifies the ...

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Overview

Michelle thought she had lost everything at 17. Her father, a Hollywood legend, had summoned her to his Montana ranch. When he had learned of his daughter's affair with a hired hand, he had fired him and destroyed his family. Michelle, pregnant, had fled to Seattle. Years have passed. Her son is lost to her. Her father needs her.

Wiggs's sensitive portrayal of parents and lovers trying to bond despite a less-than-perfect past exemplifies the richness and realism this theme can lend a love story."
—- Publishers Weekly

"Realistic, appealing protagonists, secondary characters who are much more than caricatures, and a plot compelling in its simplicity are pluses for this well-written, engrossing novel, which may surprise but not disappoint Wiggs's historical fans."
—- Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Veteran author Wiggs's first romance for Warner reveals the pain that comes with love. When teenager Michelle Turner becomes pregnant, she finds herself abandoned by both her angry father and her ranch-hand lover, Sam McPhee, who vanishes before she can give him the news. When her father is at risk of dying from kidney failure 17 years later, Michelle, a successful single mom with a beloved but difficult son in tow, returns to tiny Crystal City, Mont., to donate the kidney that can save her father's life. Michelle is prepared to deal with the trauma of surgery, an estranged father and a rebellious child, but she is completely unprepared when she encounters Sam McPhee. Now a prosperous rancher and doctor, Sam quickly recognizes Cody as his, and with that revelation, a damaged family begins to heal itself. Overabundant flashbacks give the novel's first half a frustrating stop-and-start rhythm, and the character of Michelle never quite comes into focus. In contrast, Cody is beautifully and believably wrought as a teenager who hides a good heart under a bad attitude. Fragmented families are a romance staple, and Wiggs's sensitive portrayal of parents and lovers trying to bond despite a less-than-perfect past exemplifies the richness and realism this theme can lend a love story. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In a definite departure from her earlier historical romances (e.g., The Mistress), Wiggs sets a new standard for the contemporary reunion romance. An estranged daughter/single mom who returns to Montana to provide a kidney for her dying father, a compassionate rancher/doctor who has never forgotten his first love, and a 16-year-old boy "with attitude" are the major players in an emotionally involving story that affirms the belief that love can "conquer all." Realistic, appealing protagonists, secondary characters who are much more than caricatures, and a plot compelling in its simplicity are pluses for this well-written, engrossing novel, which may surprise but not disappoint Wiggs's historical fans. Wiggs, a RITA Award winner, lives in the Seattle area. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446584906
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 290,825
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

SUSAN WIGGS published her first book with Zebra in 1987, and since then she has been published by Avon, Tor, HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Mira Books, in addition to Warner. Unable to completely abandon her past profession as a teacher, Susan is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at writers' conferences, including the literary institution Fields End and the legendary Maui Writers Conference. She is the proud recipient of two RITA awards for Lord of the Night and The Mistress, and is often a finalist for the prestigious award. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her family.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpt exclusively for the eBook version!

A Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader, Packed in the box with the original manuscript were the following pages--apparently written in Michelle's own hand and taken from her personal journal. We knew these pages were wonderful, yet so intimate we weren't sure just what to do with them. Well, after discussing it with Susan Wiggs we decided to include the journal pages here, exclusively in the eBook edition. In these pages Michelle has returned home for the first time and is flooded with memories of her first meeting with Sam. They are private and beautiful but now that you've read their story we think you will especially appreciate hearing this particular moment in Michelle's own words. . . .

Floodlights cast a bluish glow over the parking lot and fairgrounds, desolate in a cloak of winter white. Street lamps line the river road as it curves around Spring Side Mountain. I can't see its jagged hulk in the dark, but I know the legendary peak is there; I feel its presence. Once, long ago, I even climbed to the top of it. There, at the bottom of a slope below the arena is a place I know too well. Stupid, I tell myself as I head toward it. It's incredibly stupid to come here. Salt in a wound. Yet I'm drawn inexorably to the river, unable to resist. There is no cold quite so piercing as the cold of a Montana winter night, yet I keep walking, the way illuminated by the street lamps. The new snow is powdery and light beneath my boots. The Swan River is almost frozen over. Only a trickle down the middle remains, though in spring it will surely transform itself into a roaring gush of white water.

Sam and I used to walk along the bank, delirious with the wonder of first love. Each sunset burned brighter, more beautiful than the last. Each moonrise glowed with a promise we were certain was meant for us, only for us. We were so naively young back then. We thought we were invincible. We thought our love was like the river, ever flowing, never ceasing; nothing and no one could stop it--not even rock itself. I used to tell him my wildest dreams, and he would confess his deepest secrets. We were so open with each other, so trusting. I've never been like that with any other person, not even Brad.

I keep trying not to look to the right, because I don't want to see the most shattering reminder of all. But I do look, of course; how can I not? The boathouse where Sam and I used to make love on summer nights, where I found magic and dreamy fulfillment in his arms. Where I thought I'd stay all the rest of my life.

Like a sleepwalker I amble toward the snow-covered structure. Just go and face it, I tell myself. If you can survive that, you can survive anything.

The place is dilapidated, sagging down to the water, the bench outside dusted with snow. I stand looking at it for a long time, waiting for the world to crumble or come apart at the seams.

When it doesn't, I feel absurdly pleased with myself. There. I stepped close to the inferno of memory, and I haven't been burned.

But as I turn away from the boathouse, just when I'm congratulating myself for putting the past behind me, I spy the rowboat under the eaves. It's the same one. I can tell because I'm the one who whimsically painted bared shark's teeth across the bow.

I feel myself being sucked back into the past, to a time I don't want to remember. I try to resist, but it's too late. I stop walking, and stand still, my breath freezing in the night air, my heart compelled to listen to the voices pounding in my head.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A versatile writer pens a winning contemporary

    Seventeen years ago, Michele Turner fled Crystal City, Montana, vowing never to return. Michele was in the small town for just a few months to live with her father, former Hollywood star Gavin Slade following the death of her mother. She fell under the hypnotic spell of rodeo star Sam McPhee, became pregnant, and wound up in Seattle by herself raising a boy. However, over the years, Michele became a full partner in a successful advertising agency. <P>The only reason she returns to Crystal City is because her father needs a kidney transplant to live and she plans to be the donor. When Michele sees Sam for the first time in all these years, she knows she still loves him. Sam was not ready to settle down then as the rodeo beckoned and has never met his troubled teenage son Cody. Now the retired champion wonders if he chose the wrong path all those years ago. He now realizes he has a second chance to rectify matters. <P> Susan Wiggs is the recipient of numerous awards especially for her fabulous historical romances. Her current tale THE YOU I NEVER KNEW is a powerful contemporary tale that shows the depth of talent this best-selling author has. The story line is filled with angst as the four key charcaters struggle with life, relationships and love. <P>Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Not the best Susan Wiggs I've read

    Pretty predictable story overall. I read it quickly, but mostly because there just wasn't much to sink your teeth into. I have read others of hers that were better.

    If you found this at a used bookstore or in a library I'd say go for it. If you purchased it new I'd say skip it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2008

    Beautiful! Loved it!

    I don't write a lot of reviews, but I had to on this one. This is a beautiful story. Susan Wiggs is amazing! Don't pass this one by.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    Loved

    Great book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

    Couldn't put it down!

    This is one of my favorite Wiggs' books. She develops the characters enough so that you feel you know them and relate to their plights. They all have a secret they are holding back and discovering all of them, while reading a very interesting story keeps you wanting more. And of course, the mystery of each one keeps you guessing. All the characters will endear you to their hearts and have you have you reading on to hopefully find that at the end, happiness will reign.
    It's not so different from other romantic novels, but does not focus on sex alone. There is storyline, a different type of setting, characters and enough sexual description but it's not overdone or repetitive.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2011

    Wonderful well written love story!

    This was the second book I have read by Susan Wiggs and my only problem with the book was it ended. It was a well written story about a love that really has never died. I read this book in 2 days. It was very hard to put the book down. Susan did a great job and developing the charatures and making you feel like you knew each person in the story. Great book!

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  • Posted February 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The You I Never Knew *AMAZING BOOK*

    This book was absolutely amazing! I read it in less than a day. I could not put it down, went to bed late and woke up early to read it. Anyone having a "love of your life" that you will never forget will appreciate and love this book.
    Michelle Turner goes back to the Montana town she grew up in to save her father she barely knows with a kidney transplant. The first night she is in town, she literally runs into her first love.
    Michelle has a huge secret! She was pregnant with their child when she left Montana, and now their 16 year old son is standing in front of Sam.
    It doesn't take Sam long to put two an two together.
    Their past is filled with a lot of regrets and pain. On top of all their pain, they both have difficult past with their parents.
    The story takes twist and turns and their love explodes across the pages and makes you crave more. It is touching, endearing and a tear jerker.
    I really wished it had more at the ending, I wanted more, but I understand the story had to end sometime.
    I really loved this book and gave it the highest ratings I have ever given a book on everything...it is perfect as a gift, escapism and definitely a Permanent in my library as I will be reading it again someday.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2008

    Loved it!

    A must read if you are a Sussan Wiggs fan. This might be my favorite. A beautiful story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2002

    Nothing more to be said...

    Nothing more to be said than "Simply Fantastic". Puts the Must in a Must-read!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2001

    What's he doing now, 17 years after we said goodbye?

    I shanghai-ed my daughter's computer to post about this exquisitely written book that manages to touch the heart and make you think all at the same time. Michelle Turner has something so many of us have--a lost love, someone from the past she wonders about far too often. What's he doing now, 17 years after we said goodbye? Unlike most lost lovers, Michelle and Sam get a second chance. She returns to her hometown in Montana to deal with her father and brings along her son, whose never known HIS father. When Michelle and Sam meet again, the sparks fly. So do the tears and sometimes even laughter. Sam doesn't suddenly transform into a perfect father. His relationship with Cody is extremly realistic, meaning not always comfortable!

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    Posted September 11, 2010

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    Posted November 16, 2011

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    Posted January 17, 2011

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    Posted September 30, 2010

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