Balloonsby Jill Barnett.
Pocket Star paperback, 491 pages. 2006.

4 Checks



A fatal accident changes the lives of three generations of two families. Rudy and Rachel Banning die in a car accident that also takes the lives of others, including one entertainer by the name of Jimmy Peyton. This leaves behind the new widow, Kathryn Peyton and her young daughter, Laurel. It also leaves behind two young boys, Cale and Jud Banning, who then go to live with their grandfather, Victor.

Victor, powerful and wealthy, is a hard taskmaster. He’s especially hard on the youngest, Cale, and obviously favors Jud, the oldest. Kathryn is an artist who raises Laurel alone. They eventually settle on the isle of Catalina, off the coast of California.

When Laurel is 17, she meets the competitive Banning brothers, one at a time, and falls for Cale, who pursues her. Cale is wild and reckless, but wants to change and pursue a medical career. Jud steers away from the 17-year-old at first, but after she turns 18, pursues her also. He wins her over and when Cale finds out, he goes berserk with rage.

But Laurel soon disappears. Not even her mother knows to where. It is 30 years later when the Banning brothers meet Laurel again. Cale is now a successful cardiac surgeon, a widow, with two grown sons. Jud has never committed himself to anyone and has followed in Victor’s footsteps. Faith brings them together once more when one of Cale’s sons becomes attracted to the daughter of Laurel, who is now divorced.


This is an amazing story, very well told. I adored all of it. It’s simply great. No words can do it justice. Just read it!