Synopses & Reviews
A brilliant and beautiful contemporary novel about love and memory from the author of the bestselling novels All He Ever Wanted
and The Pilot's Wife
The events of a December afternoon, during which a father and his daughter find an abandoned infant in the snow, will forever alter the 11-year-old girl's understanding of the world and the adults who inhabit it: a father who has taken great pains to remove himself from society in order to put an unthinkable tragedy behind him; a young woman who must live with the consequences of the terrible choices she has made; and a detective whose cleverness is exceeded only by his sense of justice.
Written from the point of view of 30-year-old Nicky as she recalls the vivid images of that fateful December, her tale is one of love and courage, of tragedy and redemption, and of the ways in which the human heart always seeks to heal itself.
"An after-school stroll leads to a life-altering event for widower Robert Dillon and his 12-year-old daughter, Nicky, in this delicate new novel by acclaimed author Shreve (All He Ever Wanted, etc.). In the woods surrounding their secluded home in Shepherd, N.H., Robert and Nicky make a startling discovery a baby abandoned and left to die in the snow. The infant survives, but the incident leaves its mark. Still recovering from the painful loss of her mother and infant sister two years earlier, and readjusting to the shock of a sudden move from suburban Westchester to rural Shepherd, Nicky struggles to reconcile her innocent notions of adult integrity with the bleak reality of their discovery. The tenuous sense of normalcy Robert manages to sustain is broken with the appearance of Charlotte, the baby's young mother, on his doorstep. Retold 18 years later by an adult Nicky but written in the present tense, the story shifts brilliantly between childlike visions of a simple world and the growing realization of its cruel ambiguities. Aside from a few saccharine moments and a rather pat ending, Shreve does a skilled job of portraying grief, conflict and anger while leaving room for hope, redemption and renewal. Her characters are sympathetic without being pitiable, and her prose remains deceptively simple and eloquent throughout. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. (Oct. 12)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The simplicity of the story and tone, as well as the interesting inner thoughts of an adult looking back and relating a childhood turning point, makes for one addictive read." Library Journal
"One of this talented author's lesser efforts, though fans will probably be satisfied by the readable prose and intelligent, albeit shallow, character observation." Kirkus Reviews
"Although Shreve continually underlines her characters' grief and desperation, their emotions seem too neat and their responses somewhat formulaic. Nevertheless, Shreve's expert pacing produces a fast read that will more than satisfy her many fans." Booklist
Remembering the December afternoon nearly twenty years earlier when her father and she discovered an abandoned infant in the snow, Nicky recalls her father's efforts to escape society after a painful tragedy, a young woman struggles to live with the consequences of her choices, and a clever detective is determined to promote justice. Reprint.
About the Author
Anita Shreve is the author of eleven novels including the international bestsellers The Pilot's Wife, a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and The Weight of Water, shortlisted for the Orange Prize.