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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In the small seaside community of Miramonte, California, Dr. Vernon Seagrave and his wife, Lydia, are thought to be a model couple, appearing happy and content to all who know them. But on the eve of the gala celebration planned for their 40th wedding anniversary, Lydia digs her husband's gun out of the closet and then shoots him several times in the chest, killing him. She makes no excuses for the cold-blooded murder, nor does she try to defend herself. In fact, she does everything she can to aid the police and the prosecution's case against her, everything, that is, except tell the real truth.
The murder leaves everyone shocked, but none so much as the Seagraves' three daughters, Daphne, Kitty, and Alex.
Daphne, a moderately successful novelist trapped in a loveless marriage to her physician husband, returns to her hometown to confront both the specter of her parents' secret lives and the life and blood reality of Johnny Devane — the one true love she left behind some 20 years before. While both Daphne and Johnny went on to marry others, neither of them ever got over the other. In Johnny's case, his pining for Daphne was the eventual death of his marriage, and at the first sight of her when she returns to town, he realizes just how strong his love for her has always been. But things are far from simple. There is the matter of Daphne's husband and her two children. There is also the fact that Johnny is now the assistant D.A. in Miramonte and therefore responsible for prosecuting Daphne's mother.
Kitty, the oldest Seagrave sister, is unmarried and childless, but is ontheverge of adopting the unborn baby of a local girl when her father's murder occurs. Devastated by both her family's tragedy and the sudden change of heart it triggers in the young mother-to-be, Kitty turns to the arms of a much younger man for solace — Sean, who also happens to be the older brother of the pregnant girl whose baby Kitty still hopes to adopt. When the young girl decides to give her baby to someone else, Kitty finds it unbearable to be around Sean because of the painful reminders he triggers. Yet, in the brief time Kitty has spent with Sean she has come to love him, which makes being away from him just as painful.
Alex, the youngest daughter and the one who was always her father's favorite, is hit hardest by her father's death. As her father's confidante for many years, Alex knows more than anyone else about the truth behind her parents' marriage, and she can't understand her older sisters' efforts to vindicate their mother. Her grief and confusion are compounded by some serious financial difficulties that have arisen since her divorce from her husband, Jim, two years earlier, a divorce that has left her emotionally bankrupt as well. Before long, Alex's difficulties grow to the point that they threaten her home, her custody of her twin daughters, and even her sanity.
Each of the three sisters harbors some secret knowledge about the true nature of their parents' relationship, and as they come together to try to unravel all the lies, they are forced to confront their own duplicity and the heavy cost of their silence. When the whole truth is finally revealed, it shocks each of them to their very core, ripping away the framework of lies on which they've built their lives. Only through love, openness, and total honesty can they hope to survive this devastating family tragedy with their emotions, sanity, and dreams intact.
Fans of Goudge's previous works will find the same high drama and deep passion that have kept her books on the bestseller charts. But this time there is the added bonus of a murder, though the intrigue here isn't in whodunit, but why. As Goudge explores the secrets and facades of the Seagrave family, revealing truths that were always evident but not always seen, one can't help but wonder what dark secrets may be lurking in our own families and how often we keep our personal blinders a little too firmly in place.