Van Beiler and Jolene Keim are engaged to be married, but one week before the wedding Jolene's parents are swept away in a flash flood at the river crossing and they both drown. Jolene has a decision to make, as the oldest of six children what should she do? She tells Van that she wants to marry but then stay and take care of her siblings. Van isn't so sure he wants that. As a matter of face he calls off the marriage and Jolene is left with her siblings to raise on her own.
To make matters worse in a year or so Van will marry Jolene's rival from school who always had her eyes set on Van. Things just seem to go from bad to worse.
Then a new man with a son shows up to provide training for 22 abused horses that the humane society asks him to take. He comes to his uncle Lester's farm to do the work. Jolene happens to provide house cleaning and meals for Old Man Lester. She meets Andy Fisher and has an immediate attraction. It is her understanding that Andy is a widower.
As her heart develops longings for Andy she is going to come to find out that he is actually not a widower but that he is still married, his wife has left him, but he is still married. Thus her heart again is being crushed.
The story is sad yet very heart warming. The additional heart warming part has to do with the animals that Andy is tasked with taking care of. It will give him a chance to find a woman who knows how to care for animals. It will also give him the opportunity to help a young man find a new calling.
But for him the hardest part will be loosing his heart to a woman that he can't have.
This is a great story and written very well.