I get asked to review a lot of self-published work and, honestly, I'm very picky about these books. I don't accept as many as I'm offered and they often disappoint. Finding Emma is not one of these books. I'm not entirely sure why this book doesn't have a major publisher because it certainly deserves one. I'm very glad I accepted this book and got the opportunity to read and review it.
Imagine what it must be like to have a child taken from you. Imagine never knowing, the ache that must cause, the disruption to your marriage and to your other children, the inability to let go, and the sight of this child everywhere you turn. Imagine feeling like everyone in your life wants you to just get over it and let it go. Imagine you're about to lose everything, but you know deep in your heart, in your guts that your child is out there waiting for you to find him or her and you just can't let go. Finding Emma is a story with all of those elements.
Megan is a character on a mission to find her child. No matter what anyone says, no matter what happens around her, she can't and won't let go and the consequences of this choice are monumental and felt by everyone around her. And then, one day, after years of crying wolf, she really does see her daughter and has to try to get someone to listen to her. All of this while trying to manage everyday life, her relationship with her husband, her relationship with her remaining children, and the ghost of Emma hanging all around her.
Imagine what it must be like to know your child is dead from years on the street and a drug overdose. Imagine wanting to do something, anything, to correct the mistakes you made. Imagine mental illness driving you to take someone's child and hide the fact from everyone around you, disguising the child as family. All of these elements are in Finding Emma.
So many books on this subject are maudlin or one-sided and very rarely are the motives that drive someone who takes a child addressed, unless (of course) the taker is a sexual predator and then it's all about the gory detail. Ms. Holmes takes a complex and difficult subject and tells a complex and wonderful story and she tells it from multiple points of view, forcing the reader to get inside all the bits and pieces and inhabit them until the whole thing reveals itself as what it is - a deep tragedy.
This is a book worth reading and worth purchasing, not only because all of the proceeds from the book are being donated to the Missing Children's Society of Canada - an organization that focuses on reuniting families. What a great way to make a difference.