Screenwriter Dixon’s (The Language of Secrets, 2010) second novel centers on the convergence of the lives of three women who have a mysterious connection.
Livvi is a published novelist whose lonely, abusive childhood has left her emotionally damaged and needy. Growing up with a cruel stepmother and cold father, Livvi believes her mother was a party girl who abandoned her as a baby. Now an adult, Livvi has yet to break free of her need to find love and acceptance, and her relationship with Andrew, the rich owner of a publicity firm, seems to be exactly what she’s been looking for all her life—until she discovers that Andrew’s withheld huge secrets from her. Livvi begins to see that her knight’s shining armor is somewhat tarnished, but she feels obligated to stay with Andrew for one very important reason. Across the country, famous photographer Micah is informed that she’s ill and must begin treatment immediately if she wishes to survive. But Micah’s not sure she deserves to live. Before she decides, Micah sets out to settle some debts from her past, seeking out people she once knew. However, despite her generosity to a cab driver’s family, the absolution she seeks proves elusive. Flash back to 1986. AnnaLee is the devoted mother of a daughter whom she and her husband call “Bella.” They live in the home that once belonged to AnnaLee’s parents, a place where she always felt loved and secure, and AnnaLee is brokenhearted that she has to sell her parents’ treasures piece by piece to keep her family afloat financially. Husband Jack is a poor provider and a fragile man who leans on his wife for support, but AnnaLee hasn’t given up on him. Seemingly unconnected, these three women have one object in common: the image of a woman in a shimmering gown and pearl boots. Dixon’s narrative begins as a real page-turner but breaks down about two-thirds of the way through; by this point, some readers will put together all the pertinent information and spend the last third focusing on the minor holes in the story and the clunky dialogue.
Slightly flawed, but an OK way to spend a rainy afternoon.