Publishing year: 2012
I’m a great fan of Diane Chamberlain’s books, and this new novel I started this morning has already hooked.
The story is told by different voices/characters and in different time frames. We get to learn the story of Travis, who has a four-year-old daughter, Bella. Yet, he’s having difficulties as a few months ago when his house burned down and his mother died, things went from bad to worse. He didn’t have money or a job, so he had to move to a trailer, and when he was desperate, a girl with whom he has a brief affair tells him about somebody called Roy who will give him a job. We know that this Roy is no a legal guy as when we first see Travis, he is leaving Bella behind with Erin, an acquaintance, so that he can do a job, which I think is not very legal.
As the story progresses, we get to know something about Bella’s mother. Her name is Robin, and we know that she and Travis were in love, but her father didn’t approve since Travis and his family didn’t have much money. Robin’s father overprotected her as she had a heart condition just like her mother, who died when she was four. Travis and Robin meet at school, and after a deep friendship they fall in love. Robin’s father does everything to pull them apart, but it’s clear that at some point Robin falls pregnant. We don’t know if it was her father who forced her to abandon her baby. Erin wanted to give the girl into adoption, but Travis stepped forward and took her girl in. I can understand that Robin was very young, but it’s been years now, and I can’t understand how she has never contacted Travis to see her little girl.
Now Robin has a new life. He’s engaged to Dale, the man of the present mayor in a small town in North Carolina. He’s also interested in politics. The family is quite peculiar since they have a public image that have to protect at all costs. Yet, the younger sister, who is only fifteen, got pregnant and has had a baby girl. The family turned this tremendous surprise for their own cause, giving a press conference about taking responsibility of one’s acts as the girl is doing. Alyssa has given birth to a baby girl, and it’s now that Erin is starting to have nightmares about her own abandoned daughter. This is her secret, which she had never revealed to the family she’s soon to be marrying into. I don’t think Robin will be happy with the Herricks, and I’m not sure if she’s really in love with Dale. She admits she fell in love with him because he looks like Travis. I guess that soon Erin’s past and present will come together.
The third main character is Erin, who is the woman Travis has got acquainted with at the cafe and leaves Bella with. Erin has her own demons. Her daughter died some time ago, and she cannot let go of her grief. The way she and her husband coped with their daughter’s death was so different that Erin couldn’t cope with him any more. Erin and he separated and she became a recluse, moving to a apartment far from everything.
Very interesting. I feel so sad for Travis, who is a good man and father, but life hasn’t been too kind. Robin also seems a nice woman, and I can’t understand how she has never done anything to find out about her little daughter. Bella is so sweet and lovely. It breaks my heart to think that somebody could abandon her. And now what will happen to Bella? Poor girl!