The You I Never Knew

The You I Never Knew

4.1 34
by Susan Wiggs
     
 

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Michelle is going back to the town where she grew up. She's just learned that she's the only one who can save the father she barely knew. What she doesn't know is that this journey will be her last chance to save herself as well.

Overview

Michelle is going back to the town where she grew up. She's just learned that she's the only one who can save the father she barely knew. What she doesn't know is that this journey will be her last chance to save herself as well.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780759522022
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
01/01/2001
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
16,646
File size:
823 KB

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.

Meet the Author

Susan Wiggs, a Harvard graduate and former math teacher, self-published her first novel at the age of eight, using blunt scissors, pages from a Big Chief tablet, a borrowed stapler, and a Number Two pencil. She has since become a #1 bestselling author whose work is noted for scenes of emotional truth that evoke both tears and laughter. Unable to completely abandon her beloved teaching profession, she is a frequent workshop leader and speaker at writers' conferences. She lives with her family on an island in the Pacific Northwest.

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You I Never Knew 4.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 34 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.

Harriet Klausner

leapster More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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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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