Janice Hildreth, Book Addicts: New entry in Cane River series is delightfully quirky love story

Mary Jane Hathaway manages to combine comedy, mystery and romance in her very enjoyable Cane River series. She pulls on her Southern roots to deliver a delightful stroll through the Creole South.

In “These Sheltering Walls,” Lorelei reluctantly returns to her hometown, Natchitoches, La., snared by the only thing that could lure her back — a position as director of the Cane River Creole National Heritage Park. She has spent her life trying to avoid her family, but it appears it’s time to settle the past.

Trying to avoid her family and settle into her new job, Lorelei isn’t looking for romance. As a matter of fact, because of her handicap — she’s a human lie detector — she fully expects to remain single. However, upon meeting Gideon Becket, an ex-con who doesn’t care enough about anything to lie, she discovers that there may be someone for her after all.

When Lorelei discovers that Gideon is the curator of the Cane River Archives, and Gideon finds himself unable to forget the delightful archeologist, they decide that a chance on a relationship might be worth trying. And so begins the dance between two hurt individuals, enticed to step out of their emotional cocoons and take a chance on love.

However, when Gideon’s past touches his current life, he and Lorelei must discover if their love is strong enough to counter the police’s suspicion and give him healing for his past sins. Lorelei must also face her feelings about her dysfunctional family and make peace with her mother.

These two individuals, with their own demons, discover a lesson in grace and the healing gift of a fresh start.

Mary Jane Hathaway is the pen name of a writer who doesn’t like to give up her true identity.

Facebook says she’s a homeschooling mother, holds degrees in religious studies and theoretical linguistics and has a Jane Austen quote on the back of her van, but she obviously has Southern ties. She brings depth to her novels with her knowledge of Creole culture. Her depiction of the customs, food and traditions add a piquancy to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story and will definitely read the rest of the series.