A small child’s obvious need puts a world-weary New Yorker in touch with her own vulnerability and capacity for love.
When she first meets young Jenny Gilmour, Kate Andersen has lost her publishing job and her high-powered lawyer boyfriend in the same week, and she is in no mood to be motherly. However, when her neighbor Sally McKean introduces her to the 6-year-old she is babysitting indefinitely, the strange, silent girl tugs at her sympathies, and, almost against her will, Kate finds herself reaching out to Jenny. The lonely child responds to Kate’s simple kindness and slowly emerges from her shell. Kate begins to get some freelance work, and her boyfriend, Roger, calls and apologizes. Just when Kate’s life seems to be back on track, Jenny’s past intrudes in the form of a scheming absentee mother and a gangster who claims to be her father. Determined to protect the child who has become important to her, Kate is drawn into legal problems, physical danger, and the threat of losing Roger again. This engrossing romantic adventure combines mystery and psychological drama in an intricate study of family relationships, economic class, and child abuse, the sometimes-casual portrayal of which is disturbing. Sally, who is presented as basically good-hearted, if rough around the edges, constantly refers to Jenny as “Creephead” and almost always curses at her. Rothman-Hicks and Hicks (Weave a Murderous Web, 2016, etc.) avoid offering simple solutions, and the characters are often the victims of circumstance as well as their own failings. An emotionally incisive ending sidesteps pat resolutions.
An absorbing story about both the supportive and destructive aspects of family entanglements.