Quick summary: Rachel Stone is the broke, down-on-her-luck single mother of 5 yr old, Edward. She's returning to Salvation, NC as the now reviled widow of the evangelist Dwayne Snopes, the man who bilked 5 million from his faithful parishioners and died while trying to flee with the money in his private plane. Rachel has come back to find the money that everyone thinks she had a part in stealing. She is desperate to provide some security for her son and will even fight the devil to get it.
Gabe Bonner is the middle brother of Cal Bonner, the former quarterback for the Chicago Stars. Three years ago his wife Cherry, his childhood sweetheart, and their 5 year old son, Jamie were killed when their vehicle was struck by a drunk driver.
Rachel and Edward find themselves stranded in front of the drive-in theater Gabe is remodeling when her car breaks down. Down to her last nine dollars she convinces Gabe to hire her and lies when he asks her if they have a place to stay. Unfortunately, he soon discovers she's living with Edward in their broken down car when the mean-spirited Sheriff threatens to arrest her for vagrancy and ends up towing her car. So Gabe arranges for them to stay in his grandmother's mountaintop cabin with Kristy Brown, a church secretary. The two soon become fast friends.
Things between Gabe & Rachel soon heat up the pages and they tell themselves it can't go beyond the physical. With everyone but her son, Gabe, and Kristy against her Rachel only wants to find where Dwayne hid his millions and leave Salvation. And Gabe believes he'll never love anyone but his wife, Cherry, and plus he can't bring himself to like Rachel's son.
This book's characters had deeper issues than most you'll find in SEP books which made for a much richer reading experience. I found myself tearing up in this several times. Rachel's lack of pride in doing for her son truly touched my heart. How she wore Annie's old house-dresses and a pair of heavy work boots so that what money she made went towards her son. And Gabe's painful journey with his grief and the shame he felt over his antipathy towards Edward whose presence only reminds him of his son's hurtful absence. It's something we can all understand on a visceral level. I've never had any children but I've got nieces and nephews and young cousins that I love and want to see reach all their adult potential. I'm glad to say with Dream a Little Dream SEP writes a sweet heartwarming story that I highly recommend.