SUNRISE CANYON by Janet Dailey is beset with a group of folk with challenging lives. Some will rise to the occasion and walk away a better person. Others not so.
War vets with noticeable scars evidence of going through hell and yet still alive. Then there are those whose scars are less noticeable – men with psychological wounds that drugs and surgery can’t really heal and therapy can only smooth out the edges.
Edgy is a good word to describe a PTSD vet and perfectly fits Jake O’Reilly. His wife Wendy died three years ago and rather than stick around he left. Left behind his two year old daughter Paige to the care of Wendy’s cousin Kira and returned to serve out his current deployment. It would seem Jakes past has caught up with him. Dusty Wingate, Wendy and Kira’s grandfather and owner of the Flying Cloud Ranch, doesn’t suffer fools. As much as Dusty, his ranch, Kira and Paige needed Jake – well Jake needed them more – he just didn’t know it yet.
Jake sees himself as damaged goods, par for the course of so many returning soldiers. But on the ranch Kira has devoted herself to helping teenagers following destructive paths. Along with her therapy horses Kira and her crew shore up these teens self-confidence and hopefully release them better to cope with their worlds. Jake could definitely benefit from some of this unconditional love, care and trust.
Everyone has their own nightmares. Jakes come in unguarded moments causing him to relive tragic, violent events in Afghanistan. After several months of therapy he gave up healing himself and instead set off on a road to nowhere.
Kira’s kids have experienced their own traumatic moments and the usual therapy routes didn’t pan out. So that’s how the horse therapy was born – out of necessity – to help through a somewhat unorthodox method and yet for most effective means.
Funny how life hands you obstacles. Jake was an obvious obstacle to the well-oiled system at the ranch and yet as events transpired Kira was forced to rely on him. She was to be surprised. Jake was equally surprised. Heck everyone was with one exception – Dusty.
SUNRISE CANYON is a wonderful tale about life and people. SUNRISE CANYON is listed as part of the Americana Series by Janet Dailey penned mostly in the 1970’s. SUNRISE CANYON’s main character is involved in the Afghan was which took place between 2001 and 2014. I bring that to the forefront so that the reader is aware that this recent publication is actually a revamping of Janet Dailey’s successful Americana Series. Janet Dailey had garnered a rather large fan base prior to her death in 2013. Some may have read this series when it was originally published. For those that missed it note SUNRISE CANYON is a lovely reminder of this talented author.
In the heart of Arizona’s Sonora Desert, a little girl in need of her father, a woman in need of forgiveness, and a war hero in need of love come together to create a family...
Before he left for Afghanistan, Jake O’Reilly had everything—a beautiful wife, a baby on the way, a wonderful life. Three years later, his wife is dead and he is so haunted by his memories of war that he can’t bring himself to go home. But when his wife’s grandfather tracks him down and persuades him to come work on his ranch, where Jake’s daughter is living, he agrees—even though he is reluctant to expose his little girl to the man he’s become.
At Flying Cloud Ranch, his daughter doesn’t recognize the brooding stranger he’s become. But the beauty of the ranch and the immediate connection Jake feels with his wife’s cousin Kira slowly begins to heal his wounds. Though he doesn’t want any complications, he finds himself impossibly drawn to the tough woman who runs a horse therapy program for troubled teens. And as they each begin to imagine a new future, they discover that happily ever after is always within reach—if only you are willing to open your heart . . .