Every mother’s nightmare.
Her baby kidnapped!
We know that the stories of Emmy as a young mother and Sophie as a teen several years later must be connected somehow – author Beth Kephart as much as tells readers this from the start of the book.
But how the connection was made and how it falls apart, that’s the real story, conveyed by the distinctive voices of Emmy in the mental hospital and Sophie in yet another rental house, longing to be with Joey in the world outside.
My Recommendation: Someone stole tiny Baby from her swing, leaving Emmy to face her husband’s wrath, the unbelief of the police, the dark of the mental hospital. Fourteen years later, Sophie and her mom move often, the teen homeschooled and alone, the mother overworked and burdened, always looking to stay ahead of the “No Good” as they find what others have left behind in the rental houses, but never talk about her past.
Then a boy spots Sophie in her upstairs window. Shouldn’t he be at school right now? She would never dare to be near the windows when people were nearby – Mom would be so angry, and the No Good might find them. A young man, Joey, who wants to teach her to throw a baseball, to make cookies with his aunts, to listen as he reads Willa Cather to them to make up for the journeys they can no longer travel together.
Emmy and her vibrant, jangling roommate Autumn have been thinking for years of how they would leave the mental hospital and its moaners and shouters and squeaky linoleum halls. Does anyone on the Outside still remember that they are there? When a message arrives from Arlen, who helped Emmy escape from her abusive husband after Baby was stolen, they know that it’s time to fly.
Sophie wants answers. Joey knows how he was orphaned by a car wreck, knows how he arrived at the home of his aunt Cloris and her sweetheart Helen, knows how they are dealing with Aunt Helen’s failing health. Sophie thinks that answers might be hidden in the boxes marked “personal” that they move unopened from house to house, so she creeps into the basement when Mom is at work.
Mysteries and histories, Cather and cookies, Archimedean solids and wisps of perhaps… alternating chapters told by Emmy and by Sophie weave their stories into a net to catch memories and maybe even the truth. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.