Law (The Lost Diaries of Iris Weed, 2002, etc.) crafts a rather melancholy tale featuring a reporter who learns the truth about her childhood kidnapping.
Groggy from anesthesia administered during surgery, Leslie Austin begins to remember faces, names, and scenes that are hauntingly familiar yet seem to have no connection to her present life as a Florida newspaper reporter. Later, recovering but still shaky, she reads a wire-service dispatch filed on the anniversary of the unsolved case of a five-year-old girl named Ruth Eden, who disappeared without a trace decades ago in Connecticut. More digging reveals details that resonate in Leslie’s memory: Could she be Ruth Eden? Why were there no photographs of her before the age of five? Aunt Flo and Uncle Mac, who raised her, had always said that her parents were dead, but there are no photographs of them either. Leslie decides to ask her widowed aunt a few questions. The shrewd and scrappy old lady suddenly reveals that her mentally ill brother did indeed abduct a little girl from God knows where and gave her to the childless couple. Now convinced that she is the long-lost Ruth Eden, Leslie finds her father, Ross, still living in Connecticut. Reunited with her at last, Ross relates a heartbreaking story of lost love and adulterous romance. The Edens had married young and were happy enough after the birth of their son Peter, but Ross suspected infidelity, a thought that excited him sexually and justified, in his mind, forcing himself on his wife. He could never prove that Kate was having an affair, and when she sank into a prolonged depression after Ruth/Leslie’s birth, the care of the newborn girl fell to him. When she was kidnapped five years later, the family was devastated. Then there was another tragedy: Kate’s death by drowning. Is Leslie really Ross’s daughter? Or is she the child of another man?
More thoughtful than its mystery trappings suggest.