The Shadow of Your Smile

The Shadow of Your Smile

3.6 429
by Mary Higgins Clark
     
 

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In The Shadow of Your Smile, worldwide bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark weaves a spellbinding thriller revolving around a long-held family secret that threatens to emerge and take the life of an unsuspecting heiress.

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

Overview


In The Shadow of Your Smile, worldwide bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark weaves a spellbinding thriller revolving around a long-held family secret that threatens to emerge and take the life of an unsuspecting heiress.

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 Gannon fortune is being squandered by Alex’s nephews Greg and Peter Gannon, and other board members of the Gannon Foundation, who camouflage their profligate lifestyles with philanthropy.

Now their carefully constructed image is cracking. Greg, a prominent financier, is under criminal investigation, and Peter, a Broadway producer, is a

suspect in the murder of a young woman who has been extorting money from him.

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

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.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439199879
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
04/13/2010
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
23,351
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt


1

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

Meet the Author


Mary Higgins Clark's books are world-wide bestsellers. In the U.S. alone, her books have sold over one hundred million copies.

She is the author of thirty-one previous suspense novels. Her first book, a biographical novel about George Washington, was re-issued with the title, Mount Vernon Love Story, in June 2002. Her memoir, Kitchen Privileges, was published by Simon & Schuster in November 2002. Her first children's book, Ghost Ship, illustrated by Wendell Minor, was published in April 2007 as a Paula Wiseman Book/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

She is co-author, with her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, of five holiday suspense novels Deck the Halls (2000), He Sees You When You're Sleeping (2001), The Christmas Thief (2004), Santa Cruise (2006), and Dashing through the Snow (2008).

Mary Higgins Clark was chosen by Mystery Writers of America as Grand Master of the 2000 Edgar Awards. An annual Mary Higgins Clark Award sponsored by Simon & Schuster, to be given to authors of suspense fiction writing in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition, was launched by Mystery Writers of America during Edgars week in April 2001. She was the 1987 president of Mystery Writers of America and, for many years, served on their Board of Directors. In May 1988, she was Chairman of the International Crime Congress.

Visit her on the web at maryhigginsclark.com.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Saddle River, New Jersey and New York, New York
Date of Birth:
December 24, 1929
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Education:
New York University; B.A., Fordham University, 1979
Website:
http://www.simonsays.com/subs/index.cfm?areaid=12

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The Shadow of Your Smile 3.6 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 429 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
BLUEEYEBE More than 1 year ago
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!
IHeart2Read More than 1 year ago
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.
bobkat More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
troubled2 More than 1 year ago
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.
suzeque65 More than 1 year ago
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.
JRNM More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
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.
mistybraintree More than 1 year ago
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.
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akc812 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! I can't get enough of MHC! She definitely knows how to keep you reading.
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Hello
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She waits to be fu.cked
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I could leave this book for a week (because i had summer camp) and still understand it. It was great.