The heartbreaking tale of a kidnapped child and her bereft mother unfolds in alternating narratives in this intense and lovely novel.
Fourteen-year-old Sophie has been successively uprooted by the stern, sour woman she knows as her mother, always on the run from people and their questions. Her story begins as they are settling into their latest rented house and she meets Joey, a neighbor her age who lives with two warm and gentle elderly women, a couple, who eventually help her in discovering a horrible secret about her past. In a separate thread, young Emmy frantically searches for her abducted baby but is deemed by the authorities to have suffered a breakdown and is committed to a psychiatric hospital. Though there is never any question about how the two stories are related, they focus on different periods of time for the two protagonists. Though occasionally straying into melodrama, the ripped-from-the-headlines plot is here treated with tenderness and depth. Kephart’s deft employ of descriptive language—“Past the door is scuffle and howl, the slow and the fast moving. I see it through the window glass, the glass all scratched with black diamonds”—is extremely effective in setting mood and creating imagery.
Though the initial draw may be the sensational subject matter, readers will come away with much more. (Fiction. 12 & up)