(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Okay, are you ready for the boldest premise I've ever seen in a novel published by Deseret Book? Here you go:
Twenty years ago, Rikki Crockett left Spanish Fork, Utah, vowing never to return. She'd had it with the town, the LDS Church, and, especially, Dante Rushton. The boy who had stood by her through all the misery of her childhood had grown into a responsible, devoted young man—so much so that he'd chosen two years of indentured servitude as a missionary over marrying Rikki. Disgusted, she had taken off, trading cold, conservative Utah for sunny, open-minded California.
Two decades later, Rikki's back in her hometown with little to show for her time away. Marked by heartache and foolish mistakes, her years in California produced only two good things: her children. It's them she's thinking of now. She can't think of a better place for the kids to be raised than safe, sheltered Spanish Fork. They're going to need that stability when Rikki does what she does best—leave.
First, though, she's got to get through to Dante. Maybe he won't listen—after all, he's now a husband, a father, even a bishop. But he's still the only man she trusts, the only one who's never let her down. She needs him now, more than she ever has. The only problem is getting him to see that maybe, just maybe, she's got something he needs, too.
I know, right? The bishop's old girlfriend comes swishing into town, determined to get his attention, despite the fact that he's married and in a position of authority. It's downright ... racy. Of course, there's more to Before I Say Goodbye by Rachel Ann Nunes (including a not-very-surprising surprise)than meets the eye, but still, you have to admit it's a bold kind of story for Deseret Book to have taken on. Even the characters have a little bit of bite to them. Rikki's got an edge, of course, but Becca, Dante's perfect Mormon wife, has one, too. It's probably not enough of one to be totally believable; still, it gives Nunes' portrayal of LDS life a realistic feel. Because of these things, I liked the novel a whole lot more than I thought I would. It's still predictable and syrupy, with some bumpy writing in places, but overall, I found it to be a sensitive and touching read.
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't really think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for mature themes
To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Before I Say Goodbye from the generous folks at Deseret Book. Thank you!