Title: A Brush With Love
Author: Jo Barrett
Published in April 2004 by Echelon Press
Ruth Moore was a woman with a problem, and in some respects, that is not directly her fault. This is not to say she is aware of what is truly wrong, for the mind is a mysterious place, and it sometimes does strange things. Was is the operative word, because her friend Jennifer is taking things into her own hands, and Ruth finds herself living in a lovely place in the mountains far away from the viperous and sharp-tongued harridan that she unfortunately calls mother. The settlement she received from the accident was respectable, but her mother went through it like it was water, and yet never once acknowledging that her windfall was due to her daughter’s pain and injury. Now Ruth finds herself whisked hours away from a greedy, uncaring. Demanding, and disparaging mother and into an almost idyllic life. With Jennifer’s help, she has the possibility of a job that she may like, a sense of independence, and a chance to forget that she is bound to her wheelchair.
The accident that caused her injuries is past, and now the time has come for Ruth to get on with life. That is the law according to Jennifer, and under her watchful eye, Ruth starts to loosen up a bit. There is also the prospect of seeing the hunk that was working on the vehicle behind the store. Handyman or whatever her was, is…well Ruth is captivated, and yet she still hears her mother’s voice saying that no one wants a cripple. So she has little or no hope that the handsome guy would even look twice at her. She really needs to re-evaluate her self-image, but the disparaging remarks, and the constant harangue that she was exposed to from her embittered mother has crippled her mind more than any damage done by the accident. Her doctor and the therapist have told her she can walk again. There is no physical reason for her paralysis. It is a concept that baffles Ruth, but she is truly resigned until she really gets to know Mick….
Michael Thomas is a man running from life, and from the hurts, the distrust, and manipulations of his overbearing father. Forced into a career, a partnership, and a life he never truly wanted, the accident was the catylist, and the injury to the young woman his own personal cross and guilt to bear. He learned her name, but knew little else. The picture of her small injured body being rolled into the emergency room was too much, and although his father’s lawyers took care of the legalities, Michael still feels terrible guilt and remorse. The property and he house he built for himself in the mountains is his refuge. and the life that he has left behind only surfaces in the occasional visits from his father. Of course, they may stop altogether now, seeing as how this latest attempt to bully Mick back into the firm and under his control failed miserably. The plain facts are that Mick would rather be doing anything other than being an architect, even though he is very talented.
The last thing that Mick expects to find in his peaceful and idyllic new life is the one that can cause him the most pain. Even though time has passed, he never expects Ruth Moore to show up in this place or at this time. From the moment he is able to put two and two together, and have it confirmed, he is in a quandary. There is within him, a deep need for her forgiveness, and a need to get to know her as a person. Trouble for him starts when he sees not her wounded self, but the bright and engaging person that is hiding beneath all the crap that life has piled on top. It is truly the very last thing he expects to do, fir love hasn’t played much of a part in his thirty one years of life. The plans that he has so ruthlessly squashed mean nothing, and the dreams of owing a vineyard, and the property in the mountains he bought to that end are driving him now. He is not at all sure of himself, or of his reaction to Ruth. All he knows is that he wanes to spend time with her, and if sitting for her while she does a portrait will gain him time…
A Brush With Love is a poignant story of two truly lost souls and the events that bring them together. Jo Barrett has done a wonder job telling the tale of Mick and Ruth, about the trials and troubles they suffer, and how each is able to overcome them. The only thing that is left, is for them to come to terms with the love that they have for each other. Both Mick and Ruth have been abused by life, both have suffered under the cruel, abusive, and domineering yoke of a parent who doesn’t care about the person inside, only what the “child” stands for and the satisfaction they can get from them. To have such similar backgrounds, and then be brought together in such a tragic way was only the beginning. Each an artist in their own way, Mick in his talent for mechanics, and Ruth in her painting, and each needing another to fulfill their life’s promise. We can only hope they can find that elusive something.
Jo Barrett gives us insight into the lives of two talented people, and brings to the story a wealth of emotion, fear, and the uncertainty that comes with wounded selves dealing with hurts too long left raw and bleeding. The pain of rejection, of not knowing with certainty of a parent’s love, and the absence of any support is a common ground and Jo handles the events beautifully. A Brush With Love is an enjoyable read, and one worthy of a place on your keeper shelf. Out on the shelves in bookstores now, Ms Barrett’s A Brush With Love is truly a great book to take on vacation with you, and one that you will come back to often. Look for A Brush With Love next time you want a good romance. I think you will enjoy it.
Yours in good reading,