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Publisher's Summary

It’s 1956, and working-mother Ava Lark and her son, Lewis, have rented a house in a less-than-welcoming Boston suburb. There, Lewis finds he is only able to befriend the other fatherless kids on the block, Jimmy and Rose. But when Jimmy goes missing, neighborhood paranoia ramps to new heights, further ostracizing Ava and Lewis.
Lewis never recovers from the loss of his childhood friend. In his twenties, he is a failure in love, living without direction, estranged from his mother. When Jimmy’s disappearance is unexpectedly solved, however, Lewis, Rose, and Ava are thrown together once more to try to untangle the remaining pieces of the puzzle and reclaim something of what they have lost.
©2013 Caroline Leavitt (P)2013 HighBridge Company
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Critic Reviews

“With wit and a perfect eye into the human heart, Caroline Leavitt has given us a truly unique story of love, loyalty, loss, betrayal, secrets, healing.” (Sue Monk Kidd, bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By MissSusie66 on 07-30-13

Emotionally Complex

This is such a unique tale, set in the 50’s divorced mother Ava and her son Lewis find it hard to fit into their Boston suburb because Ava is *Gasp* divorced so she must be a wanton woman after every man in town but that isn’t the case Ava is just trying her best for her and her son. Lewis has his own set of problems being the child of a divorcee’ but there are a brother and sister, Jimmy & Rose, that don’t have a father either and they bond and become best friends until the horrible day when Jimmy goes missing and everything changes.

This book is told from the perspective of an adult Lewis who has had his share of relationship problems with not only women he has dated but with his mom too. When the truth comes out about Jimmy’s disappearance things don’t become any easier for Lewis, Rose & Ava.

This was a complex story, filled with emotion, it is a family drama and a story of how friendships can change when something bad happens especially when you are young. I truly loved this book it is so well written that even though it isn’t an edge of your seat thriller type book it still grabbed me and I didn’t want to stop reading/listening. There were times when I thought if you people would just talk to each other maybe some of these long held misunderstandings could have been avoided but that is what made this book all the more real, these are real people dealing with huge events in the best way they know how and that isn’t always easy.

Who else but Xe Sands could pull off the raw emotion of this book, her narration was perfect she brought the emotions of every character to the forefront and I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better job at it. She was the perfect choice for this book!

This was the first book I have read by Leavitt but it will certainly not be the last!

4 ½ Stars

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Paula on 06-11-13

A Story I Couldn't Walk Away From

This is a story that moved slowly through the lives of a woman and her son as it revealed their individual experiences in a pointedly discriminatory society, and it had a mesmerizing way of holding my attention.

The book is about the bare bones existence of a divorced women and her son in the 1950's and beyond; and about how people evolve, redefine themselves, escape their pasts and then return to those pasts over and over again.

I wondered all the way through where the story was going. . . and in time, there was a mystery to be resolved.In addition there was a need for recompense and healing that was a long time coming.

Key elements: A lost boy thought to be kidnapped; a boy who was lost because of an absent parent; a mother with great expectations but no means to achieve them; and a social climate (friends, neighbors, bosses, teachers, counselors) that dampened aspirations. These elements give this book lots of depth. The characters are people you will admire, have empathy for and yet, at times, waiver between holding in disdain for their lack of bravery and willpower and cheering for their meager accomplishments when the world seems against them.

I like this book and the only flaw was in the narrator's attempts to create male voices, child voices and differentiation among female characters. Her efforts were grand, the results not so much.

Still, overall, four stars. Good, not great. Worth the credit.

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