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by Nancy Thayer

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A secret in a woman’s past returns to change her life forever in this riveting novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer. Now available for the first time as an eBook!
Ambitious, brilliant, and engaged to a wonderful guy, Kelly MacLeod feels like her dreams are coming true when she lands a prestigious


A secret in a woman’s past returns to change her life forever in this riveting novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer. Now available for the first time as an eBook!
Ambitious, brilliant, and engaged to a wonderful guy, Kelly MacLeod feels like her dreams are coming true when she lands a prestigious appointment as a judge in the Massachusetts Family Court. A passionate advocate on behalf of children of divorce, she can at long last put her fierce intellect to good use in the courtroom.
But a chance meeting with a charismatic man forever changes Kelly’s life. Randall Madison is a successful doctor locked in a custody battle with his soon-to-be ex-wife. The two are soon swept into a passionate affair. But then Kelly realizes that a secret ties her inextricably to Randall’s case, and she finds herself torn between her moral judgment and her deepest desires.
Includes a captivating preview of Nancy Thayer’s upcoming novel Nantucket Sisters!
Praise for the novels of Nancy Thayer
“The queen of beach books.”—The Star-Ledger
“Thayer has a deep and masterly understanding of love and friendship, of where the two complement and where they collide.”—Elin Hilderbrand
“Thayer’s gift for reaching the emotional core of her characters [is] captivating.”Houston Chronicle
“One of my favorite writers.”—Susan Wiggs
“Thayer portrays beautifully the small moments, inside stories and shared histories that build families.”The Miami Herald
“Thayer’s sense of place is powerful, and her words are hung together the way my grandmother used to tat lace.”—Dorothea Benton Frank

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Women who like to read about other women's troubles will enjoy Thayer's 14th novel (after Three Women at the Water's Edge; An Act of Love; etc.), which features a novice family court judge confronting a family melodrama of her own. Just as Kelly McLeod is appointed to the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court bench, she meets and falls in love with a man whose life proves as complicated by past mistakes and present entanglements as her own. Randall Madison is battling his controlling soon-to-be ex-wife (a frigid registered nurse running for political office) for custody of their 12-year-old daughter, Tessa. Curious about her birth (she was born to a surrogate mother) and on the cusp of puberty, Tessa needs all the parenting she can get. Randall also must deal with his aging widowed father and a former lover who won't let him go quietly. Kelly is engaged to a wealthy lawyer she doesn't want to marry and must cope with her half-sister, a difficult teenager who is the daughter of Kelly's long-estranged, now-dead mother and the stepfather responsible for that estrangement. Thayer turns Kelly's easy-to-guess secret into the basis of an often engrossing tale, meticulously detailing along the way the web of court procedures developed to handle family conflicts and explaining how conflicts get resolved despite their uncomfortable fit with those procedures. Ingenuity at tackling first the court case and then Tessa's unhappy situation turns Kelly from a run-of-the-mill modern heroine into a model of negotiation. Thayer's view that motherhood requires eternal patience and parenthood an unending supply of time and money imbues the book with her trademark compassionate realism. (Nov.) Copyright 2001Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A newly appointed family court judge discovers that the male defendant in her first custody case is her secret lover-and that's only the prologue to this mix of old-fashioned romance and trendy issues like adoption, surrogate parenthood, and obsessive-behavior disorder. After setting up the major crisis facing Judge Kelly MacLeod, how she'll avoid presiding over a case involving her lover without dishonoring her role as judge, Thayer (Between Husbands and Friends, 1999) backs up to show how Kelly got herself into this predicament. After Kelly's father died in Vietnam, she was raised by her mother and her father's parents, but during Kelly's senior year in college, her mother, under the sway of her evil second husband, absconded with Kelly's inheritance. Suddenly destitute, Kelly acted as a surrogate mother to pay her way through law school, holding her newborn daughter just long enough to fall in love with her (and notice a small but crucial-to-the-plot birthmark).Years later, Kelly has become a highly respected lawyer when her mother reenters her life and renews their relationship before dying. On subsequent weekly visits to the cemetery, Kelly encounters an attractive middle-aged man visiting his recently deceased mother's grave. Although they don't exchange names at first, we know he is Randall Madison, a doctor whose soon-to-be ex-wife Anne is a rising liberal politician Kelly happens to support. Randall and Anne's adopted daughter was born of an anonymous surrogate mother (guess who) with Randall's sperm. Kelly, despite a disposable fiance, and Randall fall in love while Randall and Anne fight over their daughter. The fact that Anne is an obsessive-compulsive neurotic and a wildlyoverprotective, occasionally violent mother while Randall is a sweetheart of a dad, his marital infidelity explained as the result of Anne's disgust for sex, weakens Thayer's attempts at evenhandedness late in the story-when love and humane justice prevail. An intriguing premise undermined by heavy-handed plot manipulation and shallow people.
From the Publisher
"Gripping...captivating." —Houston Chronicle

"An...engrossing tale, meticulously detailed...with [Thayer's] trademark compassionate realism." —Publishers Weekly

"Gripping...riveting and complex...Thayer's accessible style and gift for reaching the emotional core of her characters only makes Custody all the more captivating a book."

Houston Chronicle

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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Random House
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Meet the Author

Nancy Thayer is the New York Times bestselling author of Island Girls, Summer Breeze, Heat Wave, Beachcombers, Summer House, Moon Shell Beach, and The Hot Flash Club. She lives in Nantucket.

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Custody 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All rise for judge Eli!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waks in
harstan More than 1 year ago
Ever since she attended college, Kelly McLeod wanted to become a judge. To that end when her stepfather stole her inheritance, Kelly earned money by becoming a surrogate mother. Now at thirty-five Kelly is the youngest judge in the Massachusetts court system. However, her beloved mother never saw Kelly attain to her goal because she died a few months earlier.

Every Sunday, Kelly visits her mother¿s grave, but begins to notice a handsome hunk also regularly pays his respects to his mother. The duo becomes friends and soon lovers, but neither realizes that Kelly is the biological mother of Randall¿s daughter.

CUSTODY is a warm family drama with no villains or heroes just people doing their best to cope with life. Though coincidence enables Kelly and Randall to meet, the audience needs a warning that they will stay up all night to finish this novel in one sitting. Nancy Thayer¿s brilliance resides in her ability to make interesting tales starring people just like you and I.

Harriet Klausner