Coming in at number thirteen is Kristin Hannah’s Once in Every Life. This is the story of a woman who is born deaf. Tess Gregory is a brilliant research scientist who longs for a husband and family to call her own. Sadly, Tess is struck by a bus and is killed.
But this is a romance! Where does the happily ever after come into play?
It just so happens, as she’s floating around in the cosmo’s, God has decided that Tess has been dealt an unfair hand and gives her another opportunity to find love. She is given a remote control and shown images of men and lives. She flips through the glimpses of lives until she sees Jack Rafferty, and something compelling in his haunted gaze touches her.
She hits the button.
And so she wakes up as Amarylis Rafferty, wife and mother of three, and surprise…she can hear! It doesn’t take her long to realize that Amarylis wasn’t the model mother of the year, and so she has to learn not only about Pioneer living but how to help a family not quite all together.
Her husband, Jack, has PTSD from the Civil War. One of her daughter’s suffers from dyslexia and is teased and taunted from a school environment that doesn’t understand. There’s so much heartache in this book that it brings on the waterworks pretty much from the word go. But the heartache is worth the marvelous ending, as Tess/Amarylis takes on a town to support and defend Jack.
This is a marvelous book, one that has endured on my bookshelf since 1992, the year it was first published. At a time when time travel books were just hitting their stride, this was one that stood out. It was masterfully written with wonderful characters. I highly recommend picking this book up to read, but make sure you have tissue handy!