After the loss of her family, Lindsey McDermott feels as though her life is tumbling down around her. She leaves a promising career, gets an adorable, furry companion and shuts herself away from friends and acquaintances in her grandparents’ beloved home in Utopia, Texas. Lindsey spends her lengthy days wandering familiar trails and going down memory lane while she struggles with survivor’s guilt.
Hannah Larson is devastated over her husband’s death. She leaves her home to flee from the haunting memories, pain and pervasive sadness that surrounds everything she once cherished. Hannah and her son, Jack, move into her deceased husband’s grandmother’s house in the small, scenic town of Utopia, Texas.
A simple twist of fate brings Jack and Lindsey together. The woman and child form a special bond and even though Hannah was not too keen on joining them, she eventually begins to enjoy the lazy summer days of relaxation, outdoor activities and mirth. The line between Lindsey and Hannah’s friendship begins to blur—both women recognize how much they have bonded and they have noticed their growing attraction for each other. Will Hannah and Lindsey be able to hold onto their friendship or will their budding attraction tear them apart?
April: Lindsey McDermott has quit her job as an architect. She now resides at her grandparents’ home in Utopia, Texas. My heart really goes out to Lindsey because she has suffered a huge loss yet in her grief she is able to befriend a little boy who is also in need of a friend. I adore Lindsey’s fun-loving and open-hearted nature. Most of all, I love the fact that she derives so much joy from being surrounded by nature.
Hannah Larson has had her fair share of troubles since her husband’s death. She is a stay at home mother who is lonely. She strikes up a friendship with Lindsey and soon enough she becomes enamoured with the beguiling beauty of the pond. At first, I was a bit annoyed at Hannah because I thought that she was selfish in the beginning. However, as I continued to read my admiration for her blossomed because I saw many wonderful qualities in her.
Jack Larson is Hannah’s son. He is a precocious nine-year-old who is still grieving over his father’s death. He happily forges a friendship with Lindsey and his world is suddenly filled with adventure and laughter once more. I really love Jack’s energy and his resilience because he has endured a great loss in his life. I also admire his open-minded way of seeing, understanding and accepting people just the way they are.
Sheena: All three main characters in the book are dealing with grief. Lindsey lost her entire family. Parents, siblings, nephews and nieces all gone after one horrid accident. Hannah and Jack lost their husband and father.
I probably would not have listened to this book if I had read the synopsis first. That’s a whole load of grief to be dealing with and I don’t really like feeling sad. But Hill did a remarkable job at balancing the grief with the business of getting on with life and the relationship between Jack and Lindsey was wonderful. Through it both characters found acceptance and joy again. It was a masterful piece of writing with excellent character work.
The Writing Style
April: I absolutely adore Gerri Hill’s graphic descriptions of the landscape and environs. These breathtaking descriptions have captured the beauty of the secluded pond and the charm of the small town of Utopia, Texas.
Sheena: It takes a special kind of author to kill off a whole load of people and put three grieving characters together and not make me want to stop listening. I was engrossed in the story.
Sheena: Abby Craden did a beautiful job of expressing the joy, grief and delight that filled the book. Both main women characters were well represented with voices unique enough that it was easy to keep track of who was who and she did a lovely job with Jack. He is a wonderful kid.
April: I really admire the way that Lindsey and Hannah were able to overcome the numerous challenges that came their way. I am also very pleased to say that this story features women who clearly love and enjoy being wild and free in the great outdoors and that is a huge plus for me.
Sheena: I found the actual storytelling and narration to be masterful. This book was not an easy story to tell nor to narrate and both were done excellently.
April: The pace of the story was a bit slow and it could have been tightened up a little to give the storyline a much smoother flow.
Sheena: I can see why April thought that. However, the audiobook pacing was excellent. I am not sure I would want to rush through this story. I needed to feel like they had the time to really develop feelings and if it were any faster then I suspect I would have felt like it was forced.
April: I must say that this is a very touching story of love, loss and another chance at fulfillment and happiness. This story expresses the depths of Lindsey’s and Hannah’s grief and their unique ways of dealing with pain in their own way. I really admire the strength and the tenacity that these wonderful women possess, as well as Jack’s persistent desire to enjoy his friendship with Lindsey. If you enjoy slow burning romances with picturesque views, coupled with a cute puppy or two, then this is definitely a story for you.
Sheena: It is the story of finding hope and love and family again, even when the loss is so big that it threatens to consume you whole. It is the kind of book you need to listen to when you have some down time because the plot is intricate and the story weaves together so beautifully that you won’t want to miss a thing.
Excerpt from The Secret Pond by Gerri Hill
Hannah was literally speechless as she watched Lindsey and Jack. An affectionate ruffle of his hair, the dejected look on Jack’s face as Lindsey walked away…she noticed all of it. So yes, there really was a friend. She felt a twinge of guilt for doubting him. But what did it mean? Why was this woman hanging around her son? It was odd. Very odd.
She stood at the window long after Lindsey McDermott had left, still watching as Jack sat on the porch, his legs swinging idly, his gaze on the woods and the creek beyond that. Yes… it was odd. And she had no clue as to what to say to him.
She finally pushed the door open and went outside. He glanced at her, offering a tiny smile as she sat down beside him.
“So that’s your Lindsey huh?”
“Uh-huh.” He got right to the point. “Can I go fishing with her? Please,” he begged.
“I don’t know, Jack. I don’t even know her.”
“But I know her,” he said. “She’s… she needs a friend.” His voice was quiet and she thought he was trying not to cry.
“And you need a friend?” she asked softly.
He nodded. Yes, he was trying very hard not to cry. She didn’t have the heart to disappoint him.
“Okay… you can go with her.”
He flew into her arms, nearly knocking them off onto their backs.
She hugged him tightly, hoping she wasn’t making a mistake… hoping that Lindsey McDermott was as trustworthy as she seemed.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781594935633
- Publisher: Bella Books
- Narrator: Abby Craden
- Audiobook Publisher: Audible
Gerri Hill Online
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Note: I received a free review copy of The Secret Pond by Gerri Hill. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.