Ruby Baxter knows she's made a mess of her life; she's determined that her fourteen-year-old daughter, Mia, will not do the same. When she finds Mia naked with a boy, she decides they are moving to Kansas and making a fresh start.
But along the way, they'll stop--briefly, as briefly as possible--in Unforgiven, Missouri, to meet the biological father she never knew existed. Her adoptive parents never told her she was adopted, and died in a car crash when she was eighteen. Her previously close had tanked suddenly when she was sixteen. Mia's father left her to raise Mia on her own when she told him she was pregnant. Now a letter from a lawyer tells her that she was adopted, and that her biological father, who gave her up for adoption at birth, wants to meet her.
But Ruby has no more trust to give, and all she wants from the first man to abandon her is a medical history. It will be a brief stop.
Ruby, her father Hank, her daughter Mia, and Hank's friend and farm hand, Joe Dawson, all have a lot to learn about forgiveness--of each other, themselves and those who aren't with them anymore. Ruby in particular needs to learn to trust. It was hard enough losing the close relationship she'd had with her father, Glen Baxter, when she was sixteen, with the sudden death of both parents two years later preventing her from ever finding out what happened or reconciling with him. Finding out now that her father surrendered her at birth when she hadn't even known she was adopted is another kick in the teeth she didn't need.
Ruby has to learn that she can trust and love again. Mia needs to learn she's loved and valued by her mother. Hank needs to move on from his lost Cora. Joe has his own loss that he's mourning and blames himself for. These are all engaging characters, very well handled, in a mostly gentle story that I very much enjoyed reading.
I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.