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Authors: Emilie Richards

No River Too Wide

BOOK: No River Too Wide
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Some betrayals are like rivers, so deep, so wide, they can’t be crossed. But—for those with enough courage—forgiveness, redemption and love may be found on the other side.

On the night her home is consumed by fire, Janine Stoddard finally resolves to leave her abusive husband. While she is reluctant to involve her estranged daughter, she can’t resist a chance to see Harmony and baby Lottie in Asheville, North Carolina, before she disappears forever.

Harmony’s friend Taylor Martin realizes how much the reunited mother and daughter yearn to stay together, and she sees in Jan a chance to continue her own mother’s legacy of helping women in need of a fresh start. She opens her home, even as she’s opening her heart to another newcomer, Adam Pryor. But enigmatic Adam has a secret that could destroy Taylor’s trust…and cost Jan her hard-won freedom.

Praise for the first of the Goddesses Anonymous novels
by Emilie Richards

“Richards creates a heart-wrenching atmosphere that slowly builds
to the final pages, and continues to echo after the book is finished.”

Publishers Weekly
One Mountain Away

“Complex characters, compelling emotions and the healing power of forgiveness—what could be better? I loved
One Mountain Away!

New York Times
bestselling author Sherryl Woods

“Emilie Richards’s compassion and deep understanding of
family relationships, especially those among women, are the soul of
One Mountain Away.
This rich, multilayered story of love and bitterness, humor, loss and redemption haunts me as few other books have.”

New York Times
bestselling author Sandra Dallas

“When I first began reading
One Mountain Away,
I wondered where the story was going. A few pages later, I knew precisely where this story was going—straight to my heart. Words that come to my mind are
wow, fabulous
Definitely a must-read. If any book
I’ve ever read deserves to be made into a film,
One Mountain Away
is it! Kudos to Emilie Richards.”

New York Times
bestselling author Catherine Anderson

“Emilie Richards is at the top of her game in this richly rewarding tale of love and family and the ties that bind us all.
One Mountain Away
is everything I want in a novel and more. A must-buy!”

bestselling author Barbara Bretton

“Emilie Richards has written a powerful and thought-provoking novel that will both break your heart and fill you with hope.
Richards’s characters become your friends, and they will stay with you long after you turn the last page. A beautiful book.”
—National bestselling author Diane Chamberlain on
One Mountain Away

Also by Emilie Richards

The Goddesses Anonymous Novels


The Happiness Key Novels


Shenandoah Album

“Billy Ray Wainright”

Dear Reader,

How does the author of a series, like Goddesses Anonymous, choose which characters to feature next? If you read
One Mountain Away
Somewhere Between Luck and Trust,
then you know half a dozen women are introduced who loosely band together to reach out to other women in turmoil. So how did I decide which ones in this ever-widening circle to feature in
No River Too Wide?

Have you ever been in a conversation with a friend who tells you the gripping tale of another woman’s life, then stops before the end? On the edge of your seat you ask her to continue, and she tells you sadly that she can’t, because she doesn’t know the ending. You’re riddled with frustration, right? Because you need to know!

If you’ve had that experience, then you understand why I couldn’t introduce Harmony’s mother, Janine, in passing—as I did in
One Mountain Away—
and not learn more about her. We know Janine’s trapped in a nightmarish marriage. We know that despite this, she did everything she could to give Harmony the start she needed to grow up and finally move far away.

But that smidgen of a story wasn’t enough. Domestic abuse is a difficult subject, but sadly it’s all too real. Over a million women are assaulted by their partners every year, and yes, 85% of domestic violence victims
women. The statistics are grim and worth your exploration, but this book isn’t about statistics.
No River Too Wide
is a story of triumph, of a woman moving beyond her terrifying circumstances and regaining control of her life.

Women can, especially if they have help.

As I thought about Janine and Harmony, about bad marriages and good ones, I found I needed to explore the way we women choose the men in our lives, and how we learn to make good choices and avoid bad ones.

My story was born.

The River Arts District of Asheville, North Carolina, where Taylor’s fictional health and wellness studio, Evolution, sits above the French Broad River, is real. The week I was in Asheville for research, the river overflowed its banks and seeped into far too many artists’ studios. Despite that rare occurrence, the District is definitely worth a visit. The studios are fascinating, and the personable artists are willing to stop and chat about their work. I hope you’ll find the time to visit someday.

Good reading,


To women everywhere who work tirelessly and creatively
to help other women who need them


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41


Questions for Discussion

Chapter 1

In an Oscar-worthy performance, Harmony Stoddard put all the enthusiasm she could muster into her voice. “I just
you’re going to love spending time with your grandma, Lottie.”

In reality she wasn’t sure that her nine-month-old daughter, happily exercising her chubby little legs in her bouncy chair, was going to love the upcoming visit one bit, but she continued the charade.

“And your daddy will be there. You remember Davis, right? You’ve seen him twice. He even held you once.”

Of course, not with any enthusiasm, but Harmony’s job was to ready Lottie to be carried off by strangers and to make her baby girl think this was going to be a terrific afternoon. By her own critical standards, she was doing an admirable job, even if she was developing a roaring headache from the effort.

She wasn’t surprised at the good face she was able to put on upcoming events. After all, she had been raised by a mother able to turn a day rimmed with fear and foreboding into an adventure. So many afternoons she and Janine had baked cakes and cookies, or set the dinner table with their best china and carefully folded napkins, pretending they were a normal mother and daughter brightening their happy little home.

In reality, of course, their preparations had only been a pantomime. Pretending all was normal had helped them get through the hours until Rex Stoddard walked through the door to lavishly compliment them or—more memorably—knock Janine to the floor.

Sadly, Janine Stoddard wasn’t the grandmother on her way to see Lottie. That grandmother, Grace Austin, was Davis’s mother. Lottie’s father had only recently gotten around to telling his family about his nine-month-old blessed event. Harmony didn’t know if her ex-boyfriend had been too embarrassed, or if the baby’s arrival had simply slipped his mind.

Whatever the reason, Davis’s father had no interest in meeting Lottie, but his mother was curious and expected Davis to produce her new granddaughter. So producing Lottie was the activity of the day.

“Let’s make sure we have everything you need,” Harmony continued in her own mother’s chirpy counterfeit voice. “Diapers, just in case one of them is willing to change you. Your sippy cup. Spring water. Snacks you can feed yourself.”

She paused a moment, wondering how that would work. Would Davis and Grace let messy little Lottie experiment with the lightly steamed vegetables Harmony had prepared, the little squares of whole wheat toast? Or would they lose patience and feed her French fries or crumbled-up hamburger from whatever restaurant they took her to?

The mystery was about to be solved. The bell at the bottom of the stairs pealed, and Velvet, Harmony’s golden retriever, who had been sleeping on the sofa, gave one sleepy bark before closing her eyes to finish her nap.

Harmony took a deep breath. For better or worse, Lottie was Davis’s daughter. Harmony had no right to dictate everything he did with her. After all, he did send regular support checks. Of course, if he didn’t, he would have to explain his reasons to his stodgy employer when the state of North Carolina garnished his paycheck.

BOOK: No River Too Wide
4.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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