My Thoughts (from my blog):
As the novel opens, 21-year-old Allison Glenn is being released from prison and into a halfway house in her hometown of Linden Falls, Iowa. Having served five years for a heinous crime, she is ready to start her life over again. But, secrets from the past have a way of hanging on...and never letting go.
Brynn Glenn is Allison's 20-year-old sister; a young woman tormented by the secrets of the night of Allison's crime. She tried to start over by moving in with her grandmother in another town and going to college, but she is consumed by what happened that horrible night five years earlier...
Charm Tullia is a 20-year-old nursing student who is taking care of her ailing stepfather and dealing with her aloof mother, who only seems to care about herself and what she can get from Charm.
Claire Kelby is a wife, mother, and the owner of Bookends, a local bookstore in Linden Falls. She has struggled with infertility, but her and her husband are finally settled into life with their new family.
Allison. Brynn. Charm. Claire. Four women with one thing in common - a five year old boy named Joshua.
The book is told from the perspective of each of these women. The beginning of each chapter indicates who is narrating that particular section. I was a bit concerned that I would get confused by four different characters telling the story, but that wasn't the case at all. Each character is so unique and well-developed, with their own storylines expertly weaved throughout the story, that it was very easy to distinguish between them. The author is able to make each character come alive on the page, which is not easy to do, especially with four narrators!
At first it seems that it is just a novel about Allison and Brynn coming to terms with Allison's crime five years prior, but it is so much more than that. It is confusing at first, trying to figure out how Charm and Claire fit into the story, but as the book moves along, and more information is revealed, the reader begins to see how each of these women fits into the larger picture. All four women play an integral role in the plot, which is centered around a little five year old boy named Joshua. So, what links an ex-con, her sister, a nursing student, and a bookstore owner to this innocent child? Sorry, I can't tell you! :D You will have to read it and find out for yourself!
The plot of the book is utterly mesmerizing. I couldn't put it down. The author has a way of revealing just enough information at the right times to keep the reader entranced in the story, wondering what will happen next. As the pieces started to fall into place, I found myself gasping out loud, shocked at each morsel that the author revealed.
This novel is stunningly executed and masterfully told - it should definitely go on your "must-read" list for 2011! It gets a well-deserved CRAZY AMAZING rating from this crazy reviewer!