Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Setting: 1950's Texas
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: December 13, 2016

I have to admit that Say Goodbye For Now infuriated me a little. Catherine Ryan Hyde is a favorite author. I loved Pay It Forward and have continued to enjoy her novels. In this case, the writing is solid, the characters are likable, but the time period and attitudes drive me crazy.

Since her divorce, Dr. Lucy likes the solitude she's created on her rural Texas ranch. She has her dogs, her horses, and little communication with the community. From time to time, she uses her medical license to help others out and that's how she comes into the lives of young Pete Solomon and Calvin and Justin Bell, a single father and his son.

Pete is heading fishing with a friend when he spies an injured dog on the roadway. He gets his wagon and takes it to the local vet, only to have the vet refuse to treat it as it is a wolf. Pete learns of Dr. Lucy and brings the dog there hoping she might help. It's a long walk and he's soon befriended by a young black boy (Justin). Pete lets him tag along and the two form a friendship.

Dr. Lucy isn't thrilled with visitors, but she looks at the wolf hybrid and knows she can save it. She also ends up taking Pete, a boy with an abusive father, under her wing. Pete's friendship with Justin brings the Bells into her life when Pete finds Justin badly beaten and left for dead. Soon she's caring for an entire household and surprises herself when she realizes she likes this makeshift family.

There's a big problem. Laws prohibit interracial relationships and marriages, so her growing feelings with Calvin put them all at risk. The Bells are forced to leave Texas, and Dr. Lucy doesn't know if the world will ever stop being such a hateful, bigoted place that simply allows love to thrive.

I'd like to say we've come so far, but then this election proved otherwise. I know some people with Indian heritage who were born and raised in the U.S. They tell me how they have people come to them on the streets or in stores saying the new president will force them to go home. Hatred and racism is clearly still a prevalent force today and that saddens me.

I loved Say Goodbye for Now, but I also found myself sad that racism and bigotry are alive and well, even if it does take a slightly different form. I suggest reading Say Goodbye for Now and enjoying the characters, the plot, and hoping we'll avoid past mistakes!


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