Reading a long book can sometimes be frustrating and leaving the reader bored. I hate reading books like that because it feels as if the story is dragging on the way past its limits. This book, however, changed my mind!
The book starts out with a father of three girls, deceased wife Gracie due to cancer. The girls are the only thing that keeps Emmit McKay sane these days. He sold the home that he lived with his wife until she passed away and moved back into his childhood home. Casey is 10 yrs old and has the role as "enforcer" over her sisters to keep them in line. She is the oldest female in the house feels that she has to protect them as well. Alex, Alexandra thank-you-very-much, is the regal 8 yr old going on 60. She has what most call "old soul" and would be right at home in the Victorian era. She is the morals, manners, and etiquette police in the family. No cussing, no attitude, always act like a lady, and most of all a "so-so" snob. Fletcher is the instigator and the youngest at 7 yrs old. She refuses to be bullied, bossed, insulted, and keeps mostly to herself. She is the first to get into a fight or smart off to create a fight. Emmit is the father and lives in a sea of women and he loves it. His girls are his entire world. Working and owning a hardware store in town that once belonged to his grandfather. Is not surprised when his girls are in trouble.
Emmit is not happy about the new principal at his girls' elementary school and plans to give to set him straight. He is stunned to see a female sitting behind the desk. Savannah Walker has accepted a principals position and on her first day, she meets the McKay girls. She was warned about these girls and that they were no good. Something about them grabs her heart and when she meets the father, Emmit. Sparks fly between them and they BOTH feel it. Sadie Madison is best known as Widow Madison or Sadie to her friends. She feels love for the McKay family and also rents out an apartment to Savannah. Charlie is the last to join the family and Emmit fought hard to adopt her. With her witty personality and creative mind (inside and outside of the kitchen) she is the string that ties altogether with her positive outlook on circumstances. She is compared to in the book as a mother hen to the kids as well as the adults. There are many other characters in the book, yet I feel these to be the main ones.
The hardware store begins to be the target of vandals. First, it was graffiti on the far side of the way, the private entrance for Emmit. Then it was broken into, money seemed to be the target. Arson was the final straw that made Emmit believe he was targeted. He thinks that it was from his past life before he came home and worked at the store. His was former FBI agent and was very good with a gun. A lesson he has instilled in his girls.
There are many twists and turns in this book. Several people seem to be on the list of suspects. Murder, vandalism, romance, rage, hate, fear, and loss fill these pages. There are several sexual encounters in the book that are not appropriate for children as well as some strong language. It brings you full circle and reveals the truth. The only thing that it does not tell you is the letter that causes one child to walk out on her family and not look back. I believe that this is a cruel and clever way to end the book. I make you want to read the next book in the series and makes you annoyed that you want answers now. I love this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series! I received this book for free and I offer my unbiased opinion in return.