Finders Keepers

( 16 )

Overview

Growing up in a magnificent Charleston home, Jessie Rowland wants for nothing. Her rich, indulgent father has filled her room with expensive toys, but her frantically over-protective mother keeps her from having friends and never lets her out of her sight. As she grows into adulthood, her family's stifling possessiveness feeds her feelings of loss and isolation and fuels terrible nightmares from which she wakes screaming, night after night.

At nineteen, she makes her escape to ...

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Overview

Growing up in a magnificent Charleston home, Jessie Rowland wants for nothing. Her rich, indulgent father has filled her room with expensive toys, but her frantically over-protective mother keeps her from having friends and never lets her out of her sight. As she grows into adulthood, her family's stifling possessiveness feeds her feelings of loss and isolation and fuels terrible nightmares from which she wakes screaming, night after night.

At nineteen, she makes her escape to Washington, D. C., where no one knows her and where, as assistant to a prominent Texas senator, she is soon swept into a whirlwind marriage to his handsome son. But as the Senator's career collapses in scandal, her marriage turns ugly and abusive, triggering again her strange dreams of lost happiness.

Finders Keepers is Jessie's story - the story of a child stolen from a loving home . . .of a woman lost in a life that is not her own . . .of a family shattered by an unspeakable crime. Jessie must rip the veil of every illusion before she can reclaim her life, and journey through a maze of heartbreak before she can find her way back to the place she can truly call home.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Get ready for one of the most enthralling romance novels of summer! Romance novelist Fern Michaels writes fiction of strong emotional intensity. Her Vegas Rich, Vegas Hwat, and Vegas Sunrise hit the national bestseller lists for good reasons. She's a writer of fascinating characters, intriguing stories, and wonderfully drawn settings. But her new book, Finders Keepers, is one of her most involving yet! Romance readers will fall in love with the heroine of this one as she struggles to understand her past and, ultimately, her future.

Barnes and Thea Roland are a truly messed-up couple. After a few miscarriages, and the death of their baby daughter, they have turned to drink and avoidance to hold their crumbling marriage together. Thea is already a bitter woman because of these experiences. One day, when they are driving together, Barnes stops in a small mountain town to get his wife a soda. Near the soda machine is a stroller with a young child in it. Thea makes a mad dash from the car, and grabs the little girl. She and her husband kidnap the child in order to fill a void in their lives.

But the other side to this story is that of Grace and Ben Larson. They are the parents of little Hannah, the child taken by the Rolands. Grace runs out of the gas station, only to find that both her daughter and the family dog, Jelly, are gone. The dog has broken his lead and run off after the car. Three days later, the dog returns in terrible shape from having chased the car as far as it could. Hannah does not return. There was no witness to the kidnapping, andtheLarsons' lives take a turn for the worst after this tragedy. Grace loses her job and then loses interest in life; her husband, Ben, ends up losing his work, too. Finally, their house is foreclosed on. The local church builds them a home, and Grace spends the next several years pining for their lost child.

More than a decade later, in South Carolina, Hannah is now called Jessie. She has led an overly protected life with the clingy, smothering Thea. Every year Thea and Barnes Roland have sent huge amounts of untraceable cash to the Larsons as a way of making up for the monstrous act they committed. But no amount of wealth can make Jessie truly love Thea. Jessie has never had a life of her own nor been able to make her own decisions. Finally, soon after her high school graduation, she hatches a plan with her best friend, Sophie. She will just disappear so that her parents can't find her. Jessie loves Barnes, but when she lets him know that she will be leaving for good, he understands, having been completely defeated by his own guilt.

From this point on, Finders Keepers zooms! Jessie gets out and discovers life, and in the process begins to piece together the mystery of who she is and where she is from. But the real world outside her protected existence is not necessarily better. She marries badly but discovers in her second love, Lucas Palmer, the light at the end of this tunnel. As Jessie finds love and family, she also learns about true friendship and forgiveness.

Fern Michaels has written what is, in many ways, her masterpiece. It is a story both of emotional twisting and turning and of the coming of age of a young woman discovering the secrets of her childhood. There were points where I laughed and cried and never wanted the story of Jessie and her friends to end. Michaels has entered the ranks of the master storytellers of romance, which include Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, and LaVyrle Spencer. Highly recommended!

Jessi Rose Lucas

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Michaels (The Vegas Trilogy) packs her pages with the iconography of the rich and miserable. Empty Georgia manses, loveless Texas ranches, deeds to Greek Islands and death-by-sports-car in France all help form the backdrop for the Jessie Roland saga. Adorable toddler Hannah Larson, only child of poor but decent Grace and Ben, is sitting in her stroller outside a Tennessee gas station when baby-starved Thea and Barnes Roland pull in for a cream soda. Thea snatches the child, Barnes puts pedal to metal and Hannah becomes "adopted" Jessie, doomed to a life of smothering love and material overabundance in Charleston, S.C., while her birth parents suffer and hope. On her way to NYU (instead of her parents' pick, Georgia Tech) Jessie detours through Washington and talks herself into a job as secretary to powerful Texas Senator Angus Kingsley, who has an icy wife, Alexis; a dying mistress, Irene; and a gorgeous son, Tanner. Jessie, of course, marries Tanner, and the trouble really begins. Long on episode, short on motivation, the novel offers scant payoff even in scenes that ought to tug the heartstrings, such as Jessie's reunion with her real parents. (A fine exception is the detailed, layered scene in which Mrs. Kingsley trashes the Other Woman's apartment.) The most vivid character in the book is Jelly, the yellow-haired dog who was guarding little Hannah and nearly died trying to track her. Not surprisingly, the funny bonus story at the end of the book ("A Summer Surprise") concerns a feisty woman vet who goes easier on her 11 pets than she does on her man. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
Smashingly successful soapster Michaels (Vegas Sunrise, 1997, etc.) takes on Charleston, South Carolina, and the story of wealthy young Jessie Roland—old soap in a new wrapper. What can you say about Jessie's bony adoptive mother, Thea Roland, who—thrice miscarrying, with two stillborns and a dead baby daughter—lights a cigarette on page two, drinks from a gold flask, then blows a smoke ring, and—stunning them'improbably announces to her surprised doctor and husband that she's a drunk? Next, Thea kidnaps a golden-haired baby from a filling station and cries, "FINDERS KEEPERS!" as her husband drives her and her new treasure home. Years pass. Kidnaped baby Jessie becomes a solemn schoolgirl equipped with a $100 book-bag and a three-room playhouse, then as a college girl splits from tearful Thea, who replenishes Jessie's trust fund by selling, one by one, her 73 Greek tankers. When Jessie becomes pregnant, she marries lover Tanner Kingsley but loses the baby during an accident, a baby she hopes will be cared for in heaven by Sophie, the best friend who committed suicide and has left her a fortune. When Thea dies, she leaves her tell-all diaries to Jessie, who discovers the identity of her real parents and, after reuniting with them, leaves for Nairobi. Paralyzingly ladylike junk that's bloated with redundant dialogue and that, going by Michaels's record, will sell.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821776698
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 431
  • Sales rank: 410,283
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Fern Michaels
FERN MICHAELS is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Sisterhood series, Mr. and Miss Anonymous, Up Close and Personal, and dozens of other novels and novellas. There are over seventy million copies of her books in print. Fern Michaels has built and funded several large day-care centers in her hometown, and is apassionate animal lover who has outfitted police dogs across the country with special bulletproof vests. She shares her home in South Carolina with her four dogs and a resident ghost named Mary Margaret.

Biography

Born Mary Ruth Kuczkir in Hastings, Pennsylvania, Fern Michaels was married and the mother of five before she embarked on her long, successful writing career – a career that began with something midway between a challenge and a command. When her youngest child went off to kindergarten, Michaels's husband imperiously ordered her (in just so many words) to get off her ass and get a job. Long years in the domestic trenches had left her short on marketable skills, so she decided trade off her lifelong love of reading and write a book. Just like that. The domineering, unsupportive husband is history. And Michaels has gone on to pen bestselling romance after bestselling romance. Just like that..

With typical modesty, Michaels does not claim to be a great writer; however, she admits proudly to being a born storyteller. Her bulging bookshelf proves she is all over the map, producing with equal facility hot historicals, lighthearted contemporary capers, adrenaline-laced thrillers, and heartwarming tales of family and friendship. She is especially adept at writing stories about women who prevail in hard times – a reflection, perhaps, of her own struggles in her marriage and early career.

Raised to believe that the fortunate in life have an obligation to give back, Michaels devotes a lot of time to philanthropic concerns. She has established a foundation that grants four-year scholarships to needy students and has set up pre-schools and daycare centers for single mothers. She is also an avid animal lover and has been known to own as many as five dogs at a time.

In 1993, Michaels picked up stakes and moved from her home in New Jersey to a 300-year-old plantation house in Charleston, South Carolina. She and the dogs share the house amicably with a friendly ghost whom Fern has dubbed Mary Margaret. In addition to stopping clocks and moving pillows from room to room, Mary Margaret has been known to occasionally leave flowers on Michaels's nightstand!

Good To Know

Michaels confesses in our interview: "I'm a junk food junkie and a chocoholic. My desk drawers have more junk food in them than paper and pens. I chomp and chew all day long. At night I get up and eat Marshmallow Fluff right out of the jar. In between eating, I write."

Her first "sort of, kind of job" was in market research. Michaels recounts the gig's low-point in our interview: "I had a partner and we were testing a new pressurized drain cleaner. All you had to do was put this can in the drain, squeeze and supposedly the drain would open right up. It did, all right.

"The whole wall collapsed, and stuff that was in there for a hundred years flew everywhere. The lady didn't tell us the drain backed up to her kitchen drain and disposal. The company didn't care that we smelled like a sewer or that our clothes were ruined. The lady got a new bathroom, and we both got fired."

Michaels reveals some of her sources of inspiration: "Inspiration comes from everywhere. The title for Finders Keepers came from a cartoon with two chipmunks that my grandson was watching. I had a title but no story. I finally came up with one to fit that wonderful title.

"Names for characters sometime come from television. I had a character named Metaxis which is odd to begin with. There is a news anchor on T.V. who has that same last name. Sometimes it will just be a word someone says in passing, something I read or saw. There's no rhyme or reason to it. It's almost like, okay, I need something here, stay alert and it will happen."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mary Kuczkir
    2. Hometown:
      Summerville, South Carolina
    1. Education:
      High School

Interviews & Essays

Before the live bn.com chat, Fern Michaels agreed to answer some of our questions:

Q:  Could you tell us a bit about your history as a writer? Have you always written, or did you come to it later in life?

A:  I started later in life. When my youngest child went off to kindergarten, my husband told me to get off my ass and get a job. I was petrified of the outside world. I had no skills, never went to college. All I had ever done was be a wife and mother. My husband gave me an allowance (I kid you not, and I no longer have that husband, thank you very much) that I used to buy gothic romances. That was about all that was being published at the time, 1973. I love to read. I decided I could probably write a book as good as I was reading. I convinced that husband after a lot of whining to give me time to see if I could succeed. After a lot of ranting and raving on his part, he agreed. I wrote two historical romances, one right after the other. I sent off the first one -- they rejected it, but the second one was already in the mail. Ballantine Books accepted it, and the rest is history. If the first one had come back before I mailed the second one, I don't think I would have had the guts to send out that second one.

Q:  Is Fern Michaels a pen name? If so, what made you decide to write under a pen name, and how did you choose this one?

A:  I had a partner in the early years. The editor said one name would be better than two on a book jacket; plus my real name has a Z in it, and it isn't a name that is easy to pronounce. My husband's name was Michael and my oldest son's name was Michael. I had this ugly, dusty tree in my family room that kind of looked like an overgrown fern. Fern kind of went with the two Michaels, and the editor liked it. Fern Michaels was born on a cold, snowy date in November 1973. She's only 25 years old!

Q:  Tell us about "Mary Margaret." What has she been up to lately?

A:  Mary Margaret is a ghost that came with my house. No one told me about her until after I bought the property. She's what I call a Friendly. For the most part she does not bother me. We cohabit nicely -- most of the time. She is busy at times. She breaks dishes, moves pillows, messes with my computer, and rocks on my rocking chairs. Her favorite thing is stopping all my clocks at 9:10am. She does the clock business at least once a week. She hangs out at the bottom of the stairwell leading to the second floor. There's kind of an alcove there. It's always cold there, and it's the one place my dogs won't go. In the summertime, like right now, when it is very hot, very humid with no breeze, you can see my rocker on the front porch moving, and then again around twilight the swing will be moving when there is absolutely no breeze at all. I had someone come out from Duke to check it out, and he said, "Yes, indeedy, little lady, you do have a ghost." He went on to say that ghosts are energy fields. She doesn't seem to want to relocate, and I'm not going anywhere, so I guess I'm stuck with her and she's stuck with me. It is kind of funny, though, when the dogs line up and look to the right and then the left and back to the right. They look like they're at a tennis match. I always know she's around when that happens.

Q:  What inspired Finders Keepers?

A:  My grandson. I was babysitting him one day, and we had just gone through a lengthy dialogue about was he or wasn't he adopted. He wasn't. He had himself convinced he was because his mother wouldn't let him get a dirt bike. The kid just ran with it. While all this was going on, there was a cartoon on television with chipmunks, squirrels, and barnyard animals chasing each other. One of the animals yelled, "Finders keepers!" I liked the way it sounded, and those words stayed with me all day, as did the adoption talk I had with my grandson. I put them together and Finders Keepers became a reality. Did the kid get the dirt bike? Yep. But he's only allowed to ride it here, because I am on four acres and his school marks have to stay up to snuff. My grass is starting to grow again and the bushes are coming back to life. When I typed the title for the first time, my grandson was standing next to me. He tickled me to no end when he said, "Way to go, Grandma!"

Q:  Rumor has it that you own some dogs. Do they figure into your stories in any way?

A:  Go ahead, get me started on my dogs. There isn't enough room to tell you everything. I own five, Fred, Harry, Maxie, Rosie, and Charlie. Charlie is a new Goldenray Yorkie pup and is only three and a half months old. My old Yorkie crossed the rainbow bridge on Easter Monday. I always try to put dogs in my stories -- not necessarily my own. In Wish List the German shepherd was my daughter's dog, who is so smart he can buckle up his seat belt and knows when Burger King is coming up. Jelly in Finders Keepers is a golden retriever and is kind of like a friend's dog. I cannot imagine my life without dogs. They are loyal and love unconditionally. Isn't that what life is all about?

Q:  Having had such phenomenal successes with the Vegas and Texas series, do you have any plans for a new upcoming series?

A:  Yes and no. What I can't decide is if I should continue with the Colemans and Thorntons or start a whole new family. My readers want more of the same families. I just don't know if I can make that work. It's been seven books and three more would be a real stretch. Maybe.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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(9)

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Awesome story! a nice story to read, I love the way she describe

    Awesome story! a nice story to read, I love the way she describes "jelly" the dog in the story, surely she's a dog lover. =)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    A must Read

    This book will get you from page one and keep you up every night until page 361!!! I agree with others the last chapters could have been different but.... i would tell every one you MUST read this! The thought and writing that went into this, the detail and many stories just make you wish it would be a trilogy or 600 pgs! Bravo Mrs Michaels, well done!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    Absolutely A Must Read !!

    Right from the first page this book instantly gets your attention and holds on to it. I just wanted to keep reading to know what was going to happen next. I could just feel the emotions of each of the charecters through out the book. In short

    I loved it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2012

    Very good

    Very good book. Enjoyed it very much.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    great

    finders keepers by Fern Michaels
    Jelly has returned and he's injured. The baby is not with him.
    Grace's daughter, Hannah has been taken. The dog must've ran after the car that took the girl.
    She can't believe her girl isn't there, she sewed dresses for her and knitted her sweaters for when she returned. 18 years later he gives her choices: he's tired of working 2 jobs and same food every night, either
    they start spending some of the money or he's out of there.
    She has a girl and is there when she goes to school every day giving her a rose. She's got every toy that is on the market, when a new one arrives at the
    store, one is delivered to her also. She's so spoiled, she wants coveralls, not frilly dresses. She wants to fit in with the rest of the girls at school.
    Hannah has nightmares about 'Jelly' and her mother has no idea what it's all about.
    The parents discuss sending money to the people they took the little girl from.
    They got their house back and she continues to make sweaters for her little girl, who would be 18 now. They continue to get a yearly package of money, they put it in the toy box with the lock to never be spent. They've got 2 boys now but she still grieves for her little girl. They have to put the dog down also.
    Jessie is on her way to NY after visiting with her best girlfriend in Atlanta. She is loving the
    freedom and the travel. She makes it to DC and calls her best friend a change in plans is in the works.
    Their schooling and careers go on til tragedy occurs and they pull together to get through it.
    Liars and running away, private investigators, pregnant and deaths, overdose of pills and gardens.
    She's so glad Sophie had done things, she was always so smart, she thought of everything.
    Love how tying everything together, even the name of the book, great link up!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    GOOD BEGINNING

    This story began and ended well but sort of rambled through the middle. Not one of Fern Michaels best.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 30, 2009

    REALLY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD

    WHAT A PIECE OF ART
    REALLY GOOD BOOK

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2002

    WHAT A PAGE TURNER!

    I thought this book was excellant! I just recently got into reading in my spare time and I am glad I began with this book. I have always been more of a TV person, but while reading this book, TV didn't even compare to the images I had swirling around in my mind. The only reason I didn't give the book 5 stars was because of the ending. It seemed like it ended way too soon. I would have liked to read more about Jessie's new relationship with her parents. Also, what's the deal with her and Luke? I really think they were meant to be together, so in my ending...they are.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2001

    Good Read

    This is the first Fern Michaels book I have read. I really enjoyed it!!! I have struggled with infertility and I can understand how Thea could go nuts. I can't understand why if they were so rich why did they not adopt a baby. Back in the fifty's it should have been pretty easy to adopt. I also have to agree with the other readers that I was very disapointed in the ending. I thought Fern Michaels should have had more of a reunion with Jessie and her real parents. And why did Jessie have to go to Africa to build Sophie a bridge?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2000

    this book is the greatest book I have ever

    everyone needs to read or listen to this book. i loved it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2011

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    Posted December 6, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

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    Posted June 8, 2012

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