Rush’s debut novel weaves the lives of two seemingly charmed women into a tale of family secrets.
With dependable friends and a handsome, career-minded boyfriend, Karsen Woods is in a promising time in her life. She starts the first day of a new semester at college with only one regret: a disagreement she had with her mother before returning to school. Later that day, after Karsen resolves to patch things up, she learns that her mother has died in an accident. On the other side of the country, Addison Reynolds runs a successful fashion magazine and leads a sophisticated life filled with photo shoots, advertising campaigns and posh parties. Beautiful and powerful, Addison exemplifies modern womanhood, but the glossy image of her life betrays a secret she finally lets slip to a friend. When Karsen discovers that a piece of the puzzlelike heirloom jewelry her mother had commissioned for each member of the Woods family is mysteriously absent, she starts searching for answers; meanwhile, at the urging of her friend, Addison looks for the mother she never knew. Unbeknownst to each other, Karsen and Addison are intrinsically linked, pieces of a family portrait they can’t yet see in its entirety. Rush’s chick-lit novel delivers an emotional if sometimes melodramatic journey that fans of the genre will appreciate, especially young-adult readers. Female characters represent high social status and flawless femininity, and male characters fall neatly into the categories of worthy or unworthy of their women. Unfortunately, none of the characters break any molds, so the novel tends to be typical rather than surprising. Hallmarks of the genre—romance, friendship, disposable income, sex—pop up, although they’re sometimes flatly described, and Rush has a tendency to dramatize mundane scenes while relegating more interesting information to simple exposition. Yet the heartwarming, somewhat expected ending wraps up the story nicely.
The characters feel like photocopies from other works, but the plot marches forward to a satisfying resolution.