Koehler Books|October 1, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-938467-56-1
New York City flight attendant Annie Taylor is grounded, putting a halt to weekends in Rome and her jet-setting lifestyle. Soon her noncommittal boyfriend’s true nature is revealed, and to top it all off, she loses her apartment.
With nowhere else to go, Annie leaves the city for the family farm in Kentucky, a place she’s avoided for years. She finds a shotgun-wielding grandmother, a farm in disrepair, and a suspicious stranger renting the old stone house.
The country quiet haunts Annie with reminders of a past that can’t be changed. She tries persuading her grandmother to sell the farm, but is met with stubborn refusal. Yet in the midst of her crashing life, Annie sees a glimmer of hope for a second chance.
Jake Wilder is contemplating jumping off the corporate ladder to follow his passion for sustainable farming. He’s almost ready to propose to Camille, a girl who wants more, not less. Annie believes Jake is about to make a terrible mistake, but does she have the right to tell him?
As the summer heats up, so do Annie’s unexpected feelings for Jake and her interest in the land. When a sudden phone call comes from New York, Annie is forced to choose between coming to terms with her past or leaving it all behind.
Thirty-two-year-old, Annie Taylor was a ten-year flight attendant with TransAir. Right now she is warned about losing her job as there are other airline companies attempting a takeover. Losing her job would make it difficult to pay her part of the rent on the apartment she shared with three other flight attendants. However, her handsome boyfriend, Stuart told her not to worry about it that he’d look after her.
Annie met Stuart six months ago at a costume party. Not only was he extremely good looking, but successful and rich. For her birthday just past, he gave her a pair of beautiful diamond earrings and asked her to move in with him.
Soon enough, Annie finds out some very disturbing news about Stuart. She accidentally bumped into someone she didn’t know and they struck up a conversation about Peoria, Illinois and Annie happened to mention her boyfriend had grown up there. Well, she received some very unexpected news, with details, about her lover, Stuart. Annie went directly to his office to in the financial district of New York, but Stuart wasn’t there. (I’ll leave it up to you readers to find out on your own what happened and where he was.) Feeling irritated and frustrated, Annie returned to work only to be confronted by her boss. He told Annie the takeover had taken pace and now she was out of a job, effective immediately.
Annie rented a car and made the twelve hour drive to her Grandma Beulah’s farm in Kentucky. Beulah was so happy to see her granddaughter after almost a year, except for a very short stop-over at Christmas. She planned on staying about a month, hoping by then that she could be re-hired at the new airline that took over TransAir.
The following day, a Sunday, was Beulah’s turn to host the after church dinner. With a beautiful beef supper and everyone happy to see Annie after all this time, they had a nice evening. Evelyn was there whose son, Jake had grown up with Annie after her mother died when she was twelve. It just so happened that Jake too was taking time off work to contemplate his future. Evelyn told Annie that she hoped she and Jake would have some time together for old time sake. Jake was currently dating Camille and had been since last fall, but Jake had known her father for years and he had been a mentor to Jake through banking connections. Camille was also coming down to the farm to spend time with Jake.
With the string of recent home invasions occurring lately, Annie suggested Gramma consider selling the farm and moving into town to a nice apartment with far less work for her to do. At seventy-something she wasn’t getting any younger but Beulah slept with a loaded shot gun underneath her mattress just in case these home invaders dared to get into Beulah’s place looking for money to buy drugs which had become a big problem in the area recently. But Beulah had no intentions whatsoever of selling the farm and that was the end of the conversation.
One morning, Annie decided to go for a jog around the farm area. On the way back she carefully took in the sites of the fences, the house, the old stone house out the back which had just been recently rented, the barn, and all the other out-buildings. Upon this close scrutiny she realized how much the farm had fallen into disrepair since her grandfather passed away a couple of years ago. At the same time, Annie did understand that it was a lot of upkeep for someone Beulah’s age. Annie missed her grandfather and used to love spending time with him. He always listened to her without judgment and encouraged her dreams for the future. Her relationship with her grandmother was a bit strained as she always had to turn any conversation into a lesson for Annie to learn. Her grandfather said they were too much alike.
Jake finally stopped by to visit with Annie. They reminisced about old times, talked about Jake’s girlfriend, Camille, and Annie’s break-up with Stuart.
Annie asked Jake what his plans for the future were and he replied that was why he was here at the farm trying to decide and sort things out in his mind. He was leaning toward farming where his real passion lay. Jake realized farming now required a big operation in order to be successful and sustainable which is what he had to investigate while he was here. However, Camille’s father wanted Jake to work with him in the hotel business as did Camille, but that wasn’t really his thing. Farming was definitely at the top of his list. After Jake left, Annie thought about how Jake was like a brother to her, but the years that had passed had pushed them apart. But “being with him again reminded her of their easy relationship, of how he made her laugh and his positive view of life.”
After walking through the old cemetery one afternoon and reading all the headstones of passed on family members, it really hit Annie at how much loss she and her grandmother both had suffered. Annie and her grandmother were all that was left of the family and she made a solemn vow to her grandmother that she would do everything possible in her power to hold onto the old farm after her grandmother was gone. Annie began to realize that the lack of visiting in the past had been a serious mistake and promised to visit more often. The importance of family and feeling connected was a glaring reality for Annie. She realized her poor visitation record had been hard and sad for her grandmother and she now regretted that.
Jake’s girlfriend, Camille finally arrived and before Annie even met her she sees them hugging and embracing each other which bothered her for some reason. After a few moments she pretends or tries to tell herself that she doesn’t really care, but deep down she does. It didn’t help matters any that from a distance, Camille looked to be about a size zero and with that blonde hair, it made Annie feel a tad jealous of her being with Jake but didn’t understand why it bothered her so much? Was she beginning to have different feelings for Jake other than the brother/sister type relationship they’d enjoyed their whole lives?
The more Annie gets to know Camille, the more she realizes that Jake is making a terrible mistake in marrying her. Annie found her to be deceptive, manipulative, and obviously a tad spoiled. But, was it her place to talk to Jake and tell him what she thinks and feels? And, what is she going to do about her job back in New York, will she return when or if she is re-hired by the new company?
I was totally captivated by Grounded. It was full of beautiful imagery that I could picture in my mind’s eye, it had just the right amount of romance to make the novel perfect. I loved the fact of Annie and Grandmother living off their own land. I loved Annie and Beulah, although their relationship was a wee bit strained at times, there was no doubt whatsoever that they loved and respected each other deeply. Annie’s time on the farm only enhanced and reinforced their bond. Their relationship made me think about my Grandmother and how much I loved her, we were very close but she’s been gone now for thirteen years.
Beautifully written, Grounded is a skillfully woven story that takes you through unexpected twists and turns. Immerse yourself in the heartwarming and surprising tale of love, forgiveness, the importance of family, and healing.
I guarantee your heart and soul will be touched by this charmingly written novel!!!