This is the story of Tucker Mason and how he overcame growing up in the home of an abusive, strict, alcoholic father. His half-brother, Matthew, who goes by Mutt, didn't fare so well. When the book opens, Mutt is in a mental hospital being treated for schizophrenia. Their father Rex left the boys for long periods of time with a caregiver. When he was home, he mistreated the boys.
In flashbacks we learn about Miss Ella Rain, the black woman hired to care for Tucker and Mutt. She was forty-five, a childless widow, and daughter of the son of a slave. She helped her younger brother Moses get through college. He serves in the military and become a doctor.
When the story begins, we learn that Miss Ella has died and Tucker has taken her last name. Tucker Rain is an internationally renowned photographer with cover photos on all the major magazines. He is on his way back to the family home in a small Alabama town even as his agent tries to get him to go on jobs. The family home, which Tucker now owns, is called Waverly Hall. Tucker's father was a mean person, but he had a knack for making money. He was worth more than $50 million by the time he was forty.
On the trip home, Tucker meets a woman, Katie Wither with a child, first at a food stop and later when her car breaks down. It turns out she was a neighbor of the Mason's and a close childhood friend. She was a talented musician, who played the piano as a child at the Mason's home with encouragement from Miss Ella. She left to study piano at Julliard, and later married an unfaithful and abusive man, Trevor. She divorced him, but ran away to protect her five-year old son, Jase.
After rescuing Katie and Jase, and learning of their situation, Tucker talks her into hiding out at the Mason home. When they get there, Tucker finds out his brother has left the hospital where Tucker had taken him seven years earlier.
Katie, Jase and Tucker find Mutt and the three adults recall childhood memories and get together to plan a super Christmas. Moses is at there, too.
The background information is introduced gradually, as needed, without distracting the reader from the main flow of the story.
I loved meeting these characters. Tucker was able to forgive his father and that is what made him special. Mutt tried to control himself, but he couldn't. He was a good man, but unable to be like others. Katie was a good mother who let herself get tricked into marrying an abusive man. She would survive. Moses, set good examples for the brothers when they were children and when they were adults. Along with Ella, he helped them survive.
It was a satisfying story with characters you'll not soon forget.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."