This is an amazingly well written and thought provoking novel. How would you react if, after your father and step-mother died in an automobile accident, as you were going through your father's papers, you found evidence that your childhood was nothing like what you had been told?
That's exactly what happened to Kelli. She had been told that her mother and older siblings had died in a tragic house fire. But in her father's file she finds newspaper clippings of a different tragic accident – a father and young daughter presumed lost in a boating accident, their bodies never found. The names are different, but the photo is her father.
Kellie is stunned by her discovery. When she loses her job over being truthful to a woman her boss was billing for work he never did, she decides to find out the truth. With only a family name and the name of a town in Tennessee, she heads out to find out who she is.
This novel gave me much to think about. How much of who we are comes from what we have been told about our childhood? How would we feel if we found out in our twenties that our origin is not at all what we thought? How would we feel that the father we loved and trusted so much was actually living a lie? How would we feel knowing that we might have a parent or siblings we never knew existed? Would we want to meet them?
Cushman has done an excellent job in crafting this novel and developing the story. I was right there with Kellie, feeling her pain and confusion. I struggled right along with her in every soul searching decision. All of the characters are realistic and very well developed.
The characters are great. The plot is great. The writing is superb. I highly recommend this novel. There is a discussion guide and I can imagine a lively reading group having much to talk about in this novel.
Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. She has written seven previous novels, including finalists for the Carol Award in Women's Fiction. She and her family life in Santa Barbara, California. You can find out more at www.kathryncushman.com.
Bethany House Publishers, 336 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.