Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
Thirty year old Sarah Wright lives in Chicago, Illinois with her fiancé, Dan Rosen. Sarah is in a doctoral program, and everything in her life is going well–until she receives a phone call from her mother Ethel. Ethel, an alcoholic, is in her seventies and has just had a car accident and broken both her legs. Although Sarah has a brother and a sister, they both refuse to do anything to help their mother; they consider Ethel to be more trouble than she is worth. Unable to turn down Ethel’s plea for help, Sarah leaves behind everything she loves, especially Dan, and returns to Baltimore where her mother lives.
It has been a year since Sarah moved in with her mother, and once again, after finally recovering from her injury, Ethel has gone back to drinking. One night upon returning from work, Sarah is greeted by police cars in her mother’s driveway. She is informed that her mother was found near dead outside in the freezing cold, and if it wasn’t for her dog she would definitely be dead. While Ethel lies in a coma, Sarah makes many discoveries about her mother and Aunt Ida, her mom’s best friend. First, Ethel has not been paying her bills. A thousand dollars a month is automatically withdrawn from her checking account and is sent to a televangelist named Bobby Moore. In addition to all of that, her mom’s supplemental medical insurance has lapsed due to lack of payment. Sarah is convinced that things couldn’t get any worse. But of course she is wrong. Someone tries to run Sarah over, and notes are left near her office written in blood.
Sarah’s Aunt Ida confesses how she met her mother. They both met at a home for unwed mothers. Ida was twelve years old and pregnant by her drunken, abusive step-father. When Ida’s daughter, whom she named Mitzi, was born, both Ida and the baby were fighting for their lives. The mother took precedence. Ida had to have a hysterectomy, ensuring that there would be no more babies in her life. Everyone assumed the baby was dead. When the doctors left the delivery room the baby made a noise. The nurse at the time assigned the job of taking the newborn to the morgue saw it as a perfect opportunity to keep the baby, which is exactly what she did. It was when Ida left the hospital and was approached by her step-father that Ethel saved her life. Ethel pushed him to the ground where he hit his head and died, bonding the two women as sisters.
But things for Sarah go from bad to worse. Ida disappears, Sarah is accused of murder and discovers there are deep dark secrets that were kept from her. What happened to Ida’s child? What are the secrets Ethel has kept from her children? Why was Ethel in a home for unmarried girls, and where is that child? Is there any hope for Dan and Sarah, a man she has never stopped loving?
One surprise after another and one lie after another, quite a story. This story also covers the topic of child abuse and the after effects.
*Winner: Best Mystery Thriller
PRG 2012 Reviewer’s Choice