Coming summer of 2021
Karen DeRoss lines up forty Ambien, intent on terminal sleep. Just months ago, she lost her only child to a fentanyl overdose. But instead of a final exit, she finds herself in snowy Choteau, Montana, her hometown, rescued by her aging and alcoholic parents. Then she runs into her childhood best friend, the one person she betrayed as much as her Emma.
Darren Hassack promised himself he’d never forgive Karen. Back in junior high, she’d thrown him away for the popular crowd. And she’d known he was on his own without her. His Blackfoot and Hutterite heritage meant he straddled an invisible line of race and “otherness” yet never had a foothold on either side. But one look at his now shattered, long-ago best friend, and he finds himself not only offering his shoulder to cry on but his own home for her to recover, and a job as an extra hand for this year’s barley crop.
A Korean proverb says that when a child dies, you bury the child in your heart. It is a grief swaddled and held close, but it’s nearly unbearable to witness, especially for Darren who has never dealt with his own grief, let alone his loss of trust in Karen. As winter turns to spring and the night stays a midnight blue, grief will break them both. They must decide if they want to rebuild to live, truly live.Wild Rose Water, women’s fiction (58,000 words),explores the connections we have to our past, to our grief, to the land we call home, and to love.