Finding the Grain

Finding the Grain - Wynn Malone Finding the Grain is very similar to another good read, Gerry Hill's [b:At Seventeen|16043586|At Seventeen|Gerri Hill||21820843] in plot. Same rich girl/poor girl premise, same finding-your-soulmate thing but she's expected to marry into money (and men), same decades long separation, etc. etc. But, At Seventeen feels so lightweight, so genre lesfic compared to this. Finding the Grain is so much more. It is still primarily a romance, but it is also about heartbreak, separation and a possible chance at reunion. It is about finding love, and losing it. It is about letting life's fickle turns take you every which way instead of grabbing it by the horns and making your own way. Its about making choices and sometimes, not making them but taking the easy way out. But It is also about forgiveness and second chances and the possibility of HEA--but only if love is strong enough to overcome fear and anger.

Blue is a tomboyish farm girl who lost her parents to a tornado. This tragic turn of events also caused her to lose the farm and the only home she's ever known. Her aunt offers to put her through college, but on her terms. Blue reluctantly agrees. But while there she meets a sorority girl, Grace who seems to act differently from the rest. They fall in love. But Grace isn't strong enough to defy the threats of her parents to withdraw financial support. She ends their relationship and leaves Blue for a European job.

This book follows Blue all they way--from her journey to, away from, and back to the one she believes is her one true love. The journey is long--literally as the book is over 400+ pages, but it is never boring. The romance is very well developed. The chemistry between Blue and Grace make their scenes together sizzle. There is a blue period--when heartbreak causes Blue to go adrift--where she just goes wherever her wanderlust takes her and then runs off whenever something goes wrong. I must admit I almost skipped this book because most reviews seemed to indicate that this part would overwhelm the book. It didn't. It lasts 20 years in book-time but It only took up a third of the book in terms of number of pages. So no need to worry, we get a lot of Blue/Grace time in the first third and again in the last third of the book and it's totally worth the wait--tons of delicious tension and angst await the patient reader! Going back to the blue period, it is not at all depressing or even boring. I enjoyed reading about the different places Blue drifted into and the different people she met--lovers, friends, even surrogate parents. The author's prose is very descriptive (especially re:outdoors) but not overwrought. The book is mostly from Blue's POV, but the author lets us get to know Grace so well, one can't help but fall in love with her too.

One other noteworthy aspect of the book is how realistic it feels, as if its not fiction. Like real life, Blue's life turned out to be a mess. Even when they reunite, the odds for a HEA were very remote. The incredible baggage both of them carry seemed impossible to overcome. But like life, books can be full of surprises. :)

5 stars