It's been a year since little Maddie Kelly did not wake up from her afternoon nap, yet Hope cannot stop mourning her youngest daughter.
Hope’s husband, Jack, a Maine lobsterman, has buried himself in his work, unable to face his faltering marriage. He can barely pay the bills, and finishing the renovations on the Salt House, their dream house, seems impossible. Meanwhile, their older daughters, Jess and Kat, have been tiptoeing around the powder keg of emotions. But a dinner party for Hope’s friend Peggy sets into motion a series of dramatic collisions. It all begins with Peggy’s new husband, Ryland Finn, who shares a dark past with Jack. Finn’s drunken threats to take over some of Jack’s fishing territory anger Jack, but he walks away. Finn isn’t through with Jack, though, and soon Jack is risking his own health to safeguard his territory, tamping down his grief, and keeping the door securely locked against the secret he has hidden from Hope. Meanwhile, Jess heads out to confront the boy who’s been bullying Kat. She gets more than she bargained for, including a tumble off her bike, a sprained ankle, and an uncomfortable encounter with Finn, who turns out to be the bully’s new stepfather. He’s also stepfather to Alex, the young man who patches up Jess’ ankle, drives her home, and begins to fall in love with her. Kat has her own troubles trying to puzzle out why Maddie’s ashes still live in her mother’s closet. Shifting perspective with each chapter, Duffy’s debut novel replicates the isolation of sorrow by letting each character struggle alone to make sense of a world without Maddie. From the heavy hollowness in Jack’s chest to the angry loneliness infecting Hope’s heart, she deftly sketches the edges of grief.
A poignant story of the power of faith, hope, and love to transcend loss.