The Shadow of Your Smile

( 423 )


Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark brings us another New York Times bestselling novel that she “prepares so carefully and executes with such relish” (The New York Times Book Review) about the search for identity by the daughter of a man adopted at birth, who may be the inheritor of his large fortune.

At age eighty-two and in failing health, Olivia Morrow knows she has little time left. The last of her line, she faces a momentous choice: ...

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Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark brings us another New York Times bestselling novel that she “prepares so carefully and executes with such relish” (The New York Times Book Review) about the search for identity by the daughter of a man adopted at birth, who may be the inheritor of his large fortune.

At age eighty-two and in failing health, Olivia Morrow knows she has little time left. The last of her line, she faces a momentous choice: expose a long-held family secret, or take it with her to her grave.

Olivia has in her possession letters from her deceased cousin Catherine, a nun, now being considered for beatification by the Catholic Church—the final step before sainthood. In her lifetime, Sister Catherine had founded seven hospitals for disabled children. Now the cure of a four-year-old boy dying of brain cancer is being attributed to her. After his case was pronounced medically hopeless, the boy’s desperate mother had organized a prayer crusade to Sister Catherine, leading to his miraculous recovery.

The letters Olivia holds are the evidence that Catherine gave birth at age seventeen to a child, a son, and gave him up for adoption. Olivia knows the identity of the young man who fathered Catherine’s child: Alex Gannon, who went on to become a world-famous doctor, scientist, and inventor holding medical patents.

Now, two generations later, thirty-one-year-old pediatrician Dr. Monica Farrell, Catherine’s granddaughter, stands as the rightful heir to what remains of the family fortune. But in telling Monica who she really is, Olivia would have to betray Catherine’s wishes and reveal the story behind Monica’s ancestry.

The only people aware of Olivia’s impending choice are those exploiting the Gannon inheritance. To silence Olivia and prevent Monica from learning the secret, some of them will stop at nothing—even murder.

Clark’s riveting novel explores the juxtaposition of medical science and religious faith, and the search for identity by the daughter of a man adopted at birth.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Life-giving miracles counterbalance Clark's usual turn toward velvety death-dealing menace (Just Take My Heart, 2009, etc.) in this tale of a pregnant nun's tangled legacy. Two generations after she gave away the child she bore soon after entering the convent, and one generation after her death, Sister Catherine Morrow is back in the news. An ecclesiastical court has been convened to determine whether preliminary steps should be taken to recommend her for sainthood. Certainly Sister Catherine's life was exemplary. In recompense for the child she lost, she founded seven children's hospitals, and it's possible that prayers to her banished little Michael O'Keefe's brain cancer. As the proceedings advance, however, darker currents emerge. Catherine's sister Olivia is strangled to death, a day before she was going to reveal to pediatrician Monica Farrell that Catherine was her grandmother. Olivia's old family friend and physician, cardiologist Clay Hadley, is clearly joined in a criminal conspiracy with Greg Gannon, who's been plundering the foundation started by his late uncle Alex, the love of Olivia's life, with the proceeds from the prostheses he invented. Monica's tiny patient Sally Carter is being sorely neglected by her flighty mother Renee. Scott Alterman, the Boston attorney who had the effrontery to court Monica while he was married to her best friend, has divorced and come to New York to press his suit. And someone's hired a hit man to kill Monica. The story of Sister Catherine's maybe-miracles offers a welcome counterpoint to Clark's more familiar types: the imperiled young professional woman, the equivocal detective, the womanizing wastrel, the loyal employees who exist only thereto move the plot forward. So many conspirators that the unmasking of the biggest villain is a distinct anticlimax. Until then, however, it's a pleasure watching the slow grinding of well-oiled gears as the unsurprising outcome looms.
Publishers Weekly
When a deceased nun, Sister Catherine, becomes a candidate for sainthood in this gripping thriller from bestseller Clark (Just Take My Heart), Monica Farrell, a 31-year-old Manhattan pediatrician, becomes the target of those who don't want her to inherit what's left of a fortune created by her unknown grandfather, Alex Gannon, with whom Catherine had a secret love child before she took up holy orders. That child, given up for adoption, became Monica's father. Monica must now testify whether two boys became cancer-free due to prayers to Sister Catherine so she can qualify for beatification. Meanwhile, Olivia Morrow, Catherine's 82-year-old dying cousin, ponders whether to tell Monica she's Alex's granddaughter. Clark skillfully mixes spiritual questions with down and dirty deeds as she reveals Gannon Foundation funds have been steadily siphoned off by greedy heirs and associates who will stop at nothing, even murder, to keep their criminal misbehavior under wraps. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439180983
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 118,399
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Higgins Clark, #1 international and New York Times bestselling author, has written thirty-three suspense novels; three collections of short stories; a historical novel, Mount Vernon Love Story; two children’s books, including The Magical Christmas Horse; and a memoir, Kitchen Privileges. She is also the coauthor with Carol Higgins Clark of five holiday suspense novels. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies in the United States alone.


The Queen of Suspense, Bronx-born and -bred Mary Higgins Clark has achieved international success against heavy odds. Her father died when she was 11, and her mother struggled to raise and provide for Mary and her two brothers. Clark attended secretarial school after high school and worked for three years in an advertising agency before leaving to become a stewardess for Pan American Airlines. Throughout 1949, she flew international flights to Europe, Africa, and Asia. " I was in a revolution in Syria and on the last flight into Czechoslovakia before the Iron Curtain went down," she recalls. In 1950, she quit her job to marry Warren Clark, a neighbor nine years her senior whom she had known and admired since she was 16.

In the early years of her marriage, Clark began writing short stories, making her first sale in 1956 to Extension Magazine. Between writing and raising a family, the decade flew by. Then, in 1964, Warren Clark suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving his young widow with five children to support. She went to work writing radio scripts; and, around this time, she decided to try her hand at writing books. Inspired by a radio series she was working on, she drafted a biographical novel about George Washington. It was published in 1969 under the title Aspire to the Heavens. (In 2002, it was re-issued as Mount Vernon Love Story.) Her first suspense novel, Where Are the Children?, appeared in print in 1975. It was a huge hit and marked a turning point in her life. Since then, she has developed a loyal fan base, and each of her novels has hit the bestseller lists. She has also co-written stories and novels with her daughter Carol, a successful author in her own right.

In the 1970s, Clark enrolled in Fordham University at Lincoln Center, graduating summa cum laude in 1979. A great supporter of education, she has served as a trustee of her alma mater and Providence College and holds numerous honorary degrees. She remains active in Catholic affairs and has been honored with many awards. Her publisher, Simon & Schuster, funds an annual award in her name to be given to authors of suspense fiction writing in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition.

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    1. Hometown:
      Saddle River, New Jersey and New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 24, 1929
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      New York University; B.A., Fordham University, 1979
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


On Monday morning, Olivia Morrow sat quietly across the desk from her longtime friend Clay Hadley, absorbing the death sentence he had just pronounced.

For an instant, she looked away from the compassion she saw in his eyes and glanced out the window of his twenty-fourth-floor office on East Seventy-second Street in Manhattan. In the distance she could see a helicopter making its slow journey over the East River on this chilly October morning.

My journey is ending, she thought, then realized that Clay was expecting a response from her.

“Two weeks,” she said. It was not a question. She glanced at the antique clock on the bookcase behind Clay’s desk. It was ten minutes past nine. The first day of the two weeks—at least it’s the start of the day, she thought, glad that she had asked for an early appointment.

He was answering her. “Three at the most. I’m sorry, Olivia. I was hoping . . .”

“Don’t be sorry,” Olivia interrupted briskly. “I’m eighty-two years old. Even though my generation lives so much longer than the previous ones, my friends have been dropping like flies lately. Our problem is that we worry we’ll live too long and end up in a nursing home, or become a terrible burden to everyone. To know I have a very short time left, but will still be able to think clearly and walk around unassisted until the very end is an immeasurable gift.” Her voice trailed off.

Clay Hadley’s eyes narrowed. He understood the troubled expression that had erased the serenity from Olivia’s face. Before she spoke, he knew what she would say. “Clay, only you and I know.”

He nodded.

“Do we have the right to continue to hide the truth?” she asked, looking at him intently. “Mother thought she did. She intended to take it to her grave, but at the very end when only you and I were there, she felt compelled to tell us. It became for her a matter of conscience. And with all the enormous good Catherine did in her life as a nun, her reputation has always been compromised by the insinuation that all those years ago, just before she entered the convent, she may have had a consensual liaison with a lover.”

Hadley studied Olivia Morrow’s face. Even the usual signs of age, the wrinkles around her eyes and mouth, the slight tremor of her neck, the way she leaned forward to catch everything he said, did not detract from her finely chiseled features. His father had been her mother’s cardiologist, and he had taken over when his father retired. Now in his early fifties, he could not remember a time when the Morrow family had not been part of his life. As a child he had been in awe of Olivia, recognizing even then that she was always beautifully dressed. Later he realized that at that time she had still been working as a salesgirl at B. Altman’s, the famous Fifth Avenue department store, and that her style was achieved by buying her clothes at giveaway end-of-the-season sales. Never married, she had retired as an executive and board member of Altman’s years ago.

He had met her older cousin Catherine only a few times, and by then she was already a legend, the nun who had started seven hospitals for handicapped children—research hospitals dedicated to finding ways to cure or alleviate the suffering of their damaged bodies or minds.

“Do you know that many people are calling the healing of a child with brain cancer a miracle and attributing it to Catherine’s intercession?” Olivia asked. “She’s being considered as a candidate for beatification.”

Clay Hadley felt his mouth go dry. “No, I hadn’t heard.” Not a Catholic, he vaguely understood that that would mean the Church might eventually declare Sister Catherine a saint and worthy of veneration by the faithful.

“Of course that will mean that the subject of her having given birth will be explored, and those vicious rumors will resurface and almost certainly finish her chance of being found worthy,” Olivia added, her tone angry.

“Olivia, there was a reason neither Sister Catherine nor your mother ever named the father of her child.”

“Catherine didn’t. But my mother did.”

Olivia leaned her hands on the arms of the chair, a signal to Clay that she was about to stand up. He rose and walked around his desk, with quick steps for such a bulky man. He knew that some of his patients referred to him as “Chunky Clay the Cardiologist.” His voice humorous, his eyes twinkling, he counseled all of them, “Forget about me and make sure you lose weight. I look at the picture of an ice cream cone and put on five pounds. It’s my cross to bear.” It was a performance he had perfected. Now he took Olivia’s hands in his and kissed her gently.

Involuntarily she drew back from the sensation of his short, graying beard grazing her cheek, then to cover her reaction returned the kiss. “Clay, my own situation remains between us. I will tell the few remaining people who will care very soon.” She paused, then, her tone ironic, she added, “In fact I’d obviously better tell them very soon. Perhaps fortunately, I don’t have a single family member left.” Then she stopped, realizing that what she had just said wasn’t true.

On her deathbed her mother had told her that after Catherine realized she was pregnant, she had spent a year in Ireland, where she had given birth to a son. He had been adopted by the Farrells, an American couple from Boston who were selected by the Mother Superior of the religious order Catherine entered. They had named him Edward, and he had grown up in Boston.

I’ve followed their lives ever since, Olivia thought. Edward didn’t marry until he was forty-two. His wife has been dead a long time, and he passed away about five years ago. Their daughter, Monica, is thirty-one now, a pediatrician on the staff of Greenwich Village Hospital. Catherine was my first cousin. Her granddaughter is my cousin. She is my only family, and she doesn’t know I exist.

Now, as she withdrew her hands from Clay’s grasp, she said, “Monica has turned out to be so like her grandmother, devoting her life to taking care of babies and little children. Do you realize what all that money would mean to her?”

“Olivia, don’t you believe in redemption? Look at what the father of her child did with the rest of his life. Think of the lives he saved. And what about his brother’s family? They’re prominent philanthropists. Think what such disclosure will mean to them.”

“I am thinking about it, and that’s what I have to weigh. Monica Farrell is the rightful heir to the income from those patents. Alexander Gannon was her grandfather, and in his will he left everything he had to his issue if any existed and only then to his brother. I’ll call you, Clay.”

Dr. Clay Hadley waited until the door of his private office closed, then picked up the phone and dialed a number that was known to very few people. When a familiar voice answered he did not waste time in preliminaries. “It’s exactly what I was afraid of. I know Olivia . . . she’s going to talk.”

“We can’t let that happen,” the person on the other end of the line said matter-of-factly. “You’ve got to make sure it doesn’t. Why didn’t you give her something? With her medical condition, no one would question her death.”

“Believe it or not, it isn’t that simple to kill someone. And suppose she manages to leave the proof before I can stop her?”

“In that case we take out double insurance. Sad to say, a fatal attack on an attractive young woman in Manhattan is hardly an extraordinary event these days. I’ll take care of it immediately.”

© 2010 Mary Higgins Clark

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 423 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 426 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    fine suspense thriller

    Thirtyish Greenwich Village Hospital pediatrician Dr. Monica Farrell feels for her late dad, as he tried but was never able to trace who his biological parents were. Only one person living knows that, Olivia Morrow, an elderly woman who is dying. Monica is Olivia's only blood relative and the octogenarian debates whether to tell her the truth or keep silent as the board of Gannon Enterprise demands as the founder of the firm was Monica's great grandfather.

    Feeling the right thing to do is tell the truth to her third distant cousin Monica; Olivia informs her physician and confidant Dr. Clay Hadley, a Gannon board member, of her decision. Clay has orders to kill her if she even hints at talking to Monica. Hit men are also sent to kill Dr. Farrell who might prove troublesome eventually as the heir to her grandfather's enormous largesse. Board member Greg Gannon is being investigated for insider trading; his brother Peter is arrested for killing a blackmailer. Hadley and another board member Douglas Langdon are lining their pockets by skimming investment money of their clients. Monica knows none of these people are related to her, but someone wants her dead before she learns the whole sordid truth.

    This series of events occur two generations earlier when a family member Catherine the nun became pregnant and gave her child up for adoption. Now her granddaughter is caught in the crosshairs of some malevolent people. Monica cares about her others as did Catherine while the Gannon board cares only about money and power at any cost to others. Fascinating and fast-paced, fans of Mary Higgins Clark fans will enjoy her latest suspense thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2010

    Save Your Money-Read The Book Jacket

    I was very disappointed in MHC's newest offering. The writing seems very stilted and, at times, disjointed. Her characters aren't entirely fleshed out so some of them (even the main ones) are simple cardboard cutouts. There was very little suspense because you knew all along who was behind everything. The surprise ending was superfluous to the plot. While it made sense, what was the point? I have long been a fan of Ms. Clark's and automatically reserve her books at the library. I would suggest you get it from a library rather than investing in this one. Actually, almost the entire plot is on the book jacket so maybe you can save yourself some time and just read that. I wish I had stopped there. It's okay if you have nothing else to read but, other than that, skip it. I sincerely hope her next one is better.

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:


    This story focuses on the mysteries surrounding pediatrician, Dr. Monica Farrell, and elderly Olivia Morrow. Olivia is told some bad news by her cardiologist. Olivia realizes she is the only one who knows the family secret about Monica.
    This is an exciting read!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An okay read

    The story opens with Olivia Morrow learning she has weeks to live. Olivia is in her 80s and knows she has lived a good life. Knowing the end is near, there is a secret that she has been harboring for most of her adult life. Olivia is torn on whether to keep her family's secret or reveal the truth and the consequences that will inevitably follow.

    Monica Farrell is a successful pediatrician. Her current case centers around Sally, a sweet girl who has seen the inside of a hospital too many times in her short life. Dr. Farrell is at odds with the girl's mother, who casually leaves her daughter and doesn't show concern for her physical health.

    Monica is surprised when she receives a phone call from Olivia Morrow claiming to know her grandparents. Monica's father was adopted as a young boy and she doesn't know anything about his biological parents. Olivia asks her to meet with her so she can explain everything. Monica immediately agrees. When Monica shows up at Olivia's home the following evening, the unexpected happens.

    True to the author's style, The Shadow of Your Smile if full of characters. There's another storyline that runs parallel to Olivia and Monica that will collide with theirs by the end of the book. Greg and Peter Gannon are nephews of the infamous doctor Alex Gannon. Greg is on the board of directors of the Gannon Foundation and is heavily involved in insider trading. Peter is a Broadway producer who hasn't had much success. The two men are a disgrace to the Gannon name and all that Alex has stood for. When Peter is accused of a crime, the media frenzy puts an unwelcoming spotlight on the Gannon family.

    As Monica tries to figure out why Olivia called her, there's a hit man following her trying to stop her from finding out Olivia's secret. The plot moves quickly as the reader discovers the true identity of Monica's grandparents.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A little disappointing.

    I am a big fan of Mary Higgins Clark. I have most of her books and always enjoyed them. I buy her books as soon as they are available, knowing that I am in store for a good read. "The Shadow of Your Smile" was disappointing for me. It was just boring. I had to force myself to stay with it. I still love her and will continue to buy her books though I may wait to read some reviews in the future.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2010


    Sorry. price is too high for this book. And why isn't this being made available to libraries? I might consider paying this price for a book I really wanted to read but not wait for from the library, but I won't pay this price when the price is set at this overpriced point AND the publisher gives me no choice: buy at this price or don't read it. No problem. There's plenty of other content I am more than willing to pay for, but I won't sit still & let the publisher get away with this nonsense. Maybe the authors should take a little notice.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    A Rainy Day Quick Reading Novel

    Her book was easy reading, but somewhat choppy. Seems as though there was a lot of jumping around with the many characters and their part in the book.

    The main characters, although portrayed as "good guys" did not have enough written about them or for them.

    Have read better books and plots by her.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    The Shadow of your Smile

    When I read the title I wasn't sure what to expect in the book. I was very glad that I had purchased this book. There were many twists to this book which kept me wanting to find out what will happen next. This book had some very powerful characters and was very enjoyable to read. Mary Higgins Clark completed another great book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    The Shadow of your Smile

    This was one of Mary Higgins Clark's best books. The story kept you on your toes until the end. How the whole story came to a head really kept me waiting for the next scene. I wasn't sure she was going to get the answers to her questions about her Dad's real parents. I really enjoyed this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    The Shadow Of Your Smile

    I really like Mary Higgins Clark style of writing as much as the content of her books. This one did not disappoint. She continues to blend current events/ideas into her writing. Her plots are always different and interesting. She does a good job of mixing mystery with light romance. For me a truly good book leaves me wishing for more and this is the feeling I have with her books; I can never really "put the book down" once I start reading. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon or day at the beach. I always look forward to the next and sincerely hope there will be many, many more in the future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    This book is excellent!

    I highly recommend this book. It is a typical Mary Higgins Clark. It is very hard to put down and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The characters are well defined. It has some suprises with it, and will keep you guessing until the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    The Shadow of Your Smile

    There isn't one bad thing about the latest book from Mary Higgins Clark that I can think of. The twists and turns in her stories keep me turning the pages until the book is finished. Another great mystery, questionable characters with questionable motives and, for the most part, a happy ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not Worth Reading

    While I usually enjoy Mary Higgins Clark's books (and have read a multitude of them), this one was sorely lacking. A ridiculous plot line, coupled with one-dimensional characters and a major end left untied, left me with a bitter taste. Honestly, I don't know if I'll go back to that well and purchase another of her books.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Who is Who and What is What?

    A favorable review: An enjoyable pleasure. In this work of fiction you will find a fascinating and intriguing storyline along with well-developed characters, and subplots to make for entertaining reading. You'll be so taken in that you should be able to read this novel over a weekend. Plenty of suspense to keep your attention from start to finish is in The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark. Another great suspense and mystery novel for you to enjoy is between the covers of this wonderful book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2010

    Just okay

    I have read all of Mary Higgns Clark's books and bought this one as soon as I could. I enjoyed it but feel that this and the last few as well are not as good as the older ones. I think "A Cry in the Night" was the scariest book I ever read. I did not want to be alone in the house when I was reading it. I have not felt that way about the more recent books by Mary Higgins Clark I am a faithful reader and will always buy the latest, but they are not as good.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010


    I have read all MHC's books and have enjoyed most. This is by far the worst. The main character is a goody two shoes cartoon character and the plot is stale and overdone. Just skip this one.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013



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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013


    She waits to be fu.cked

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    I loved this book

    I could leave this book for a week (because i had summer camp) and still understand it. It was great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    highly recommended

    Another one that was hard to lay down. I just love her books.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 426 Customer Reviews

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