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A Synopsis of My New Novel, Pacheco Falls

April 21, 2012

Here is a synopsis of my coming novel. What do you think?

Synopsis of Pacheco Falls

by Julie Anne Morley

Samantha feels broken inside and everything she’s tries to do to fix it backfires. At seventeen, she wishes for a different life, but even when she gets it, she still finds a way to screw it up. Now her mother is married to Aaron, and the drifting family of two grabs the promise of stability in his aging house in the small town of San Martin south of San Jose, California. When Samantha meets Sergeant, the horse belonging to Aaron’s late wife, she finally feels as though she’s found something that truly belongs to her. She gets her driver’s license, strikes up a friendship with Angie, a seasoned horsewoman at Coe Road Stables, and meets Jasper, a young local rancher. As Aaron builds a room for her and her confidence in her new family grows, the life she always hoped for seems within reach. She grows stronger, finds herself smiling, quits smoking weed, and lets the sun sink into her skin. For the first time, she allows herself to feel the love of her new family and friends. It doesn’t last long enough.

Jayne knows what it feels like to be an unwanted stepchild and she promised herself that her daughter will never suffer the same fate. So even though Aaron is loving and fair to Samantha, her past colors her ability to enjoy the present. Still, as she and Samantha settle into their new life with Aaron and his children, she begins to heal and as she feels more confident, her dormant intellect blooms. Accustomed to keeping important things secret, she applies to graduate school without telling anyone and his inadvertent discovery of her intent erodes the tenuous trust between them. As the family fragments into dysfunction, Jayne fails to act even though she suspects that Aaron is involved with his childhood sweetheart, Angie, and Samantha is falling into old her self-destructive habits.

It’s too late for Aaron to prove his love for Tamara, his late wife, but now he has a second chance. Marrying Jayne is a package deal, but after a few weeks of living with teenage Samantha, he wonders if he’s made a mistake. Yet his children are happier with their new mother and when he lets Samantha take over his horse, Sergeant, the family bubbles with optimism. But when he finds out about Jayne’s secret plans, the way he betrayed his first wife rises to the surface and he turns toward his childhood sweetheart, Angie.

Angie had the perfect childhood. It wasn’t until after high school graduation that her heart was irreversibly broken. When her lifetime best friend and sweetheart, Aaron, married another woman, Angie turned to the companionship of her horse and withdrew from the disappointed world of human interaction. When Aaron’s wife was killed, Angie hoped he would turn to her. Instead he married someone else, again. Angie vows to excise Aaron from her thoughts forever, but when he brings Samantha to meet Sergeant, she finds she can’t keep the promise she made to herself.

Jasper Olson was raised by a bully and his survival depended on keeping a close watch. Now his mechanism for coping has become a twisted past time. He fixes on Samantha as the solution to his loneliness and believes that if he can win her affection, it will prove that he is a good man. After watching her from afar for a month, he finally meets her face to face. Her vulnerable youth stirs his desire to become the man he always wanted to be. They begin an innocent relationship that blooms into intimacy. When Samantha sees him for what he really is, an ex-addict, loner, bottom-line loser, he pulls out his shotgun and orders her off his ranch.

At sixteen, Jonathan Olson couldn’t take the despotism of his father and decided to flee to the remote hills and live a life of seclusion in the backcountry. The hermit thrived and never looked back until he caught a glimpse of a familiar looking young man four decades later. He watches and tracks Jasper Olson, and the discord he witnesses within him awakens feelings, both bitter and sweet. Sensing trouble, the hermit trespasses into Jasper’s house, removes his booze bottles, paraphernalia and shotgun. When Jasper tracks him down, he reveals his identity, and offers to tell Jasper the story of his life. The two men retreat to the hillside cave he calls home. The smell of smoke draws them from their conversation and they hike out of the ravine to get a better look. An approaching wildfire is coming directly toward the old man’s lair. As they scramble down the hillside, Jonathan breaks his leg and hit his head. No longer able to flee the oncoming fire, Jasper carries him to the cave to wait it out. As the hermit floats in and out of consciousness, he now knows that he wants to stay alive in this world, if only to be a part of his newfound nephew’s life.

As a heat wave grips the region and the characters’ psyches unravel, each finds a point of strength to carry them into change. Against the backdrop of a raging wildfire that threatens the land they all love, Samantha comes to understand what a father’s love means, Jayne forgives herself for failing to protect Samantha, Aaron finds the sense of community and commitment that he longs for, Jasper unites with only living relative and Angie takes a chance at love.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2012 3:41 am

    Looks like a good read comin up!:)

  2. Susie green permalink
    April 21, 2012 3:26 pm

    Looks great, Julie! Can’t wait to read it!

  3. Mary Bird permalink
    April 26, 2012 4:12 pm

    JulieRose… I am so excited to see you write about your life after (to you) a short absence. I missed my vicarious life each week! I love your synopsis. K.Leigh is having a party for me on Cinco de Mayo when I will be 65. Remember my last BD when I was 59 and you thought I was 60 because “Who would have a 59th party?”. If you happen to be in town for 5/5 come on by. I miss you!

    • April 26, 2012 4:19 pm

      Mary Chicky Bird!! How wonderful to hear from you. Happy almost birthday, you young thing. I wish I could give you a hug, but alas, I will not be in California. Have a great celebration, I know you know how! Keep in touch.

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