When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.
Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.
This book focuses on the lives of four women, Allison, Brynn, Charm & Claire whose lives have all intersected because of the events of Allison’s life.
Allison – as a 16 year old – is the golden child. She has great grades and is a star athlete. But she meets a boy and starts to fall in love and ends up getting pregnant. She ends up telling no one about the pregnancy and has the baby at home with the help of her younger sister Brynn. Allison is sent to prison for drowning her baby and the book starts when she’s getting out of prison 5 years later.
Allison wants nothing more than to get her life back but she’s on parole and in a halfway house where the residents constantly remind her of her baby killer status. Her parents want nothing to do with her and Brynn, who has been living with their grandmother won’t even accept her phone calls.
Brynn is trying to deal with life and has been doing well until someone finds out who her sister is and they shun her. Basically Brynn blames Allison, though she loves her, for most everything that has gone wrong in her life. She tries to stay away from the town as much as possible but eventually has to return and ends up seeing Allison.
Then there is Charm who is a nursing student. She is 21 and trying desperately to go to school, deal with her ever-in-need-of-attention mother, and care from her dying step-father. When she was just 15 she dropped a baby off at the fire station which was a “Safe Haven” and that little boy was eventually adopted by a couple Claire and Jonathan. Charm, under the pretense of visiting Claire’s bookshop visits the boy, Joshua, regularly just to check up on him – though Claire has no idea what the connection between Charm and Joshua truly is.
Claire is a woman who could not conceive a child and had given up hope when she was given a foster child that her and her husband ended up adopting – Joshua. When Claire accepts a parolee as an employee (yes, that would be Allison) she has no idea how the decision will effect her life.
I’m really trying to tell you about the book without giving too many spoilers because as much as I wanted to know what was going on right when I first opened the book the discoveries of events both in the present and via flashbacks was too good to spoil. If you’re planning on reading the book you definitely don’t want to know what’s happening ahead of time.
The story is told in alternating chapters from Allison’s, Brynn’s, Charm’s and Claire’s points of view. Allison and Brynn were told in the first person and Charm and Claire in the 3rd and it was a bit off putting at times moving from one to the other. I think because of that they didn’t seem to have their own voices. It seemed at times that I was reading about the same person talking – except that the chapter headers had different names.
The story deals with fear, mental illness and the steps that were taken to try to cover it up. It’s about love and protecting those we love whether it’s protecting a sister, a brother, a niece, a son or a friend. While the book was not my normal type of read I did enjoy it.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
I received this book for review from Media Muscle.