The Moment Between

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Overview

Abigail Bennett was completely in control of her life until tragedy pushed her to the brink of something she’s never experienced: Obsession. Now she’s given up everything she’s ever worked for to chase down the object of that obsession. His name is Tyler Kamp. As Abigail follows him across the border into Canada, her journey is awash in memories of family and childhood, especially those of her younger sister Hailey. Even as Abigail races into her future, her past pulls her back. Only when she is brought to the ...
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Carol Stream 2009 Trade paperback New. No remainder marks. Unused, unread. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 384 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

Abigail Bennett was completely in control of her life until tragedy pushed her to the brink of something she’s never experienced: Obsession. Now she’s given up everything she’s ever worked for to chase down the object of that obsession. His name is Tyler Kamp. As Abigail follows him across the border into Canada, her journey is awash in memories of family and childhood, especially those of her younger sister Hailey. Even as Abigail races into her future, her past pulls her back. Only when she is brought to the edge of her obsession will she be able to come to terms with the tragedy that ignited it. Tyndale House Publishers
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Baart (Summer Snow) writes an emotionally intense tale of two sisters. Past and present alternate as the history of their family unfolds in order to explain their present circumstances. The present is largely set in a winery in British Columbia, where one of the sisters, Abigail Bennett, pursues Tyler Kamp, her sister Hailey's boyfriend. The vineyard offers opportunity for beautiful description and resonant imagery as the narrative unspools. Abigail is presented in painful, almost claustrophobic, detail as she deals with the central puzzle of her family and history. But some of the supporting characters, while intriguing, are slightly off-pitch. Hailey's boyfriend Tyler isn't presented fully enough, and winemaker Eli Dixon occasionally becomes more of a symbol than a character with a compelling back story. But Baart has exactly right the members and dynamics of the Bennett family, locked in the manic dance of mental illness. She tells a poignant and gripping story. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In this complex story of two sisters, Abigail Bennett is an accountant whose well-ordered life is turned upside down when she pursues her obsession, Tyler Kamp, to a winery in British Columbia. Tragic yet hinting at mercy and forgiveness, Baart's (After the Leaves Fall) well-crafted contemporary novel features engaging characters and will appeal to readers who have had to deal with difficult family relationships. For CF and women's fiction collections.


—Tamara Butler
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781414323220
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/22/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Read an Excerpt


The Moment Between


By NICOLE BAART
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009

Nicole Baart
All right reserved.



ISBN: 978-1-4143-2322-0



Chapter One ABIGAIL BENNETT was the definition of unexpected. She was one year on the wrong side of the knife blade that was thirty, but if she turned up at your restaurant and ordered a glass of wine, even high-heeled and clad in a black sheath, you'd card her every time. Petite and narrow-waisted, with a pixie flip of hair the exact color of coffee beans, Abigail could easily pass for sixteen in a pair of ripped jeans and an Abercrombie T-shirt.

Not that she liked looking younger than her age. In fact, most of the time Abigail hated the constant reminders that no matter what she did or where she went, she would not be taken seriously. This explained the harsh line of bobby pins that held her wayward hair out of her face as if the severity of it could add years. It also explained the almost-dowdy clothes, the earth-toned makeup, and the hard, thin line of a mouth that could have been very beautiful.

Once people got past the fact that she wasn't a teenager, Abigail looked very much like the ideal kindergarten teacher. Her stature and dress were the opposite of intimidating, yet there was a spark in her dark eyes as if from time to time a match was struck behind the velvety chocolate of her corneas. These eyes could freeze hell over with a well-timed look, a piercing arrow of unmistakable meaning. But there was also the hint of tenderness in Abigail that translated into quiet strength when paired with the sharp edges that were inevitably unveiled before anyone had a chance to form a false opinion of her. But then again, maybe it was all a facade. She didn't let people get close enough to find out.

In reality, Abigail was not a kindergarten teacher, nor could she remember a phase in her life when she ever wanted to be one. She was an accountant. Numbers were stable, unchanging, and best of all, incapable of being mysterious or of forcing people to act and think and feel in ways that they would not normally act and think and feel. Numbers were predictable; people were not. And because Abigail trusted the reliability of her chosen field, she was good at her job, meticulous and capable of holding the smallest detail in her mind for as long as it was useful.

During tax season Abigail worked more hours than anyone else at her firm, and that was saying a lot. It was why she was made a partner after only five years with the company and why she occupied one of two corner offices, the one with a view of the swampy man-made pond that graced the complex of professional stucco buildings on Key Point Drive. Johnson, McNally & Bennett was a Rosa Beach institution, and though Blake Johnson and Colton McNally could claim most of the honor behind their prestigious position in the community, Abigail knew she filled an important and indispensable role. Southern Florida had its share of widows and divorcées, and for some not-so-surprising reasons they preferred to have a woman handle their money. Abigail was happy to oblige. It kept her busy and the firm in business.

Keeping busy was what Abigail did best. When she wasn't working, which averaged sixty hours a week, she was either running or reheating days-old Chinese takeout in a dented wok. Both activities were little more than a personal experiment; they were representative of the only two things in Abigail's life that she really, deep down hoped to accomplish someday: run a marathon and learn to cook.

The marathon was a goal that she had already partly achieved. On the day of her twenty-ninth birthday, she ran a half marathon in Miami. Abigail could have easily completed it, and in fact, the finish line was in sight only two blocks ahead when she realized it was enough to know that she could do it. Crossing the finish line would have meant that she ran for someone else, that she ran for the glory, the recognition.

So Abigail had slowed down a little and then a bit more until someone thrust a cup of water in her hand and yelled, "You're almost there!" She smiled her thanks, sipped the water, and folded herself into the crowd while all eyes were watching the other runners throw their arms into the air for the last few triumphant yards.

The cooking, on the other hand, was little more than a pipe dream. Abigail's greatest accomplishment was adding a diced chicken breast and some soy sauce to leftover chicken chow mein. It was too salty. But propped on her counter in an antique, wrought-iron bookstand was a Williams-Sonoma cookbook with full-color photographs and extensive instructions on how to cook home-made delicacies like potato gnocchi with wild mushroom sauce and baked clams with pine nuts and basil. Every morning, while she waited for the last few drops of coffee to drip into her Gevalia carafe, Abigail would thumb through the glossy pages of the cookbook and imagine what it would be like to make a wine reduction sauce as the sound of laughter filled her apartment. Someday, she told herself.

And though there were many somedays in Abigail's life, she tried not to let the particulars of her existence get her down too much. It didn't matter that she didn't have a boyfriend. It didn't matter that every day plodded on with the same pitfalls and small successes. It didn't matter that her apartment was quiet but for the hum of her empty stainless steel refrigerator. It was the life that Abigail had chosen, and she was a grim optimist, resigned to the path she was on-she was getting exactly what she had always wanted. So what if it was tilted heavily toward work, personal discipline, solitude? So what if it left little room for the things other people craved? So what if her cupboards were as bare of exotic ingredients as her apartment was bare of cheerful company?

But sometimes, alone in her apartment with the shades drawn tight, Abigail would stand in front of the full-length mirror on the back of her bathroom door and relax enough to admire what she saw. Tousling her wet hair and practicing a self-conscious smile that showed her teeth-her impossibly white, perfectly straight teeth that were a genetic legacy instead of the result of extensive dental work-Abigail could almost pretend that she was ten years younger and that the world was unfurling itself before her.

For those moments in the steam and warmth, dark ringlets of hair curling around her temples as if she were some Grecian empress, Abigail wished much more for herself than what she had. She wished that she could rewind the clock and find Abby, the girl she used to be, perched on the cusp of her life instead of entrenched in the middle of it with no apparent way out.

Every once in a while, she could gather the courage to admit that it would be a very different life if she had it to do all over again.

* * *

When Abigail first came to Johnson & McNally, she had a chance at a different life.

It was no secret around the office that Colton McNally had a thing for the new accountant. He was twelve years older than Abigail and divorced, and that seemed somehow estimable according to Abigail's less-than-high expectations. It wasn't that she would settle for just anyone, but she also didn't enter into much of anything with a long list of prerequisites.

In truth, Abigail found Colton very attractive. She thought his salt-and-pepper hair was distinguished-even though she suspected it came from the hands of a very talented colorist as he wasn't quite forty-and she liked the way his tailored suits fell across the straight line of his shoulders. Best of all, he was nothing like the immature, self-absorbed boys Abigail had dated in college. They had nearly turned her off of men altogether. So when Colton turned his attention toward her, Abigail let him flirt. For a while, she even stopped wearing the stern bobby pins so that her dark curls framed her rather nicely arched forehead.

And yet Abigail wasn't naive. She knew that her employer loved her because of the photo. It would have been too much to ask for Colton to love her, or at least think he did, because of herself. But while she probably should have been reticent of attention resulting from such a faint and improbable notion, Abigail accepted-almost expected-the source of Colton's desire.

The photograph in question hung neatly squared and centered on a fabric-covered board adorning the west wall in the reception room. It was a concession to the more traditional bulletin board, replete with employee photographs that were intended to look candid but often looked overposed.

Abigail knew of the board, she even shot glances at it whenever she could to detect updates and changes, but she was not aware upon settling into her position that tradition dictated a spot for her photo front and center ASAP.

It was her third day of work, and Abigail was immersed in balancing infinitesimal details, worlds away from the air-conditioned office she inhabited when Colton startled her with a quiet "Ahem."

Her head was bowed, and her forearms rested on endless pages that sprouted like an unruly crop of paper weeds across her generous desk. Abigail blinked and raised her eyes, just her eyes, in time to be blinded by the flash of Colton's expensive Canon. He laughed and snapped a few more pictures for which she cleared off her desk, sat up straight, and smiled, thin-lipped and toothy and even coy, trying them all in the hopes that one would be right.

But the next day, Abigail was surprised to see that the photo gracing the quasi bulletin board was the first of the batch. She knew she was looking at herself because seeing the small, hunched form over the crowded desk was a sort of déjà vu-she had been there before. If not for that, Abigail would have never believed that the woman staring back at her was her own reflection. The woman in the photograph had luminous-there was simply no other word for them-luminous black eyes of the starry-sky variety: endless and opalescent and dark like a time before the genesis. Like the event horizon of identical black holes-no way out, but no matter, for who would ever want to leave? Beneath the twin universes of those eyes, her lips were slightly parted, pink and full and evocative of bruised raspberries. Her skin glowed faintly (fluorescent light reflecting off all that white paper?), and her shadowy curls were framing and soft. The woman was lovely.

But what unnerved Abigail the most was that Colton had caught her at a moment between. A rare, uncovered moment between expressions: a moment of evaporation before the advent of her surprise became the dutiful smile that spread across her face in the split second after the shutter snapped. This woman was a living mystery.

Abigail wished she knew her.

* * *

One day, a few months after she started at the firm, Abigail went into Colton's office to ask him a question about the tax return of a dual citizen living out of country. It was a legitimate question, but Blake's office was closer than Colton's, and her admirer acknowledged that fact the second Abigail rapped her knuckles on the doorframe. She realized almost too late that her presence would be read as an invitation, and sure enough, a smile unfolded across Colton's face like a flag pulled taut in a billowing wind.

"Come in, Abigail! Why don't you close the door behind you? There's something I've been meaning to talk to you about."

Abigail did as she was told and crossed the plush, carpeted floor of Colton's office with her heart stuck fast in her throat.

"But first-" Colton set aside what he had been working on-"what can I do for you?"

Passing him the papers, Abigail lowered herself to balance on the arm of one of the leather chairs facing the wide, black walnut desk. But Colton raised an eyebrow at her, motioned that she should cross behind the desk to stand beside him.

They had flirted before, secret half smiles conveyed across crowded rooms and careful conversations littered with possibilities. And it seemed that the unmistakable chemistry between Colton and Abigail was a favorite topic around the watercooler, boasting far more people in favor of a match than against it. It was impossible for Abigail not to get caught up in it a little. But she also couldn't help being cautious, and suddenly, with the door closed and Colton looking far more handsome than she remembered from only the day before, she knew that he was a man who wouldn't play games for long.

Colton waved her over again and Abigail moved slowly, explaining about the nonresident and his recent payout from a life insurance death benefit. She had just gotten to the part where he intended to give enough of it away to slip below the line of taxable income when Colton grabbed her wrist and, in one smooth movement, pulled her forward until her face was inches from his. He studied her, still smiling, then kissed her full on the mouth as if he had been intending to do so for a long time.

It wasn't that Abigail didn't want to kiss him back. Actually quite the opposite. It wasn't even that she was stunned by the inappropriateness of such a gesture. Instead, it was a Tic Tac that ruined everything, a burning little grain of peppermint that she inhaled when Colton's lips touched hers.

She drew back, pulling out of Colton's embrace and coughing violently until tears collected at the corners of her eyes. Abigail struggled for a moment, choking mutely as she watched Colton bolt out of his chair and grab her upper arms. When the breath mint was dislodged from her throat and she could feel it hot and peppery on her tongue, she knew it was a very small thing that would be significant in ways that might cause her years of lament.

"I'm sorry," Abigail murmured, utterly mortified for one of the first times she could remember. "I ..." She couldn't continue.

Colton stared at her, concern and disbelief gathering foglike across his forehead. At first, Abigail thought he might fold her into his arms, that the almost-pitiable comedy of what had just happened would become the sort of story they laughed about months down the road when they told people the tale of how they came together. But then Colton laughed, rubbing his hands up and down her arms. The moment shattered and fell away, disappearing in a shimmer of doubt that made Abigail wonder if she had merely dreamed it.

"As long as you're okay," he boomed. And then he sat back down and pretended nothing had happened. He never mentioned it again and neither did she.

Eighteen months later, Colton married Marguerite, the receptionist who was hired at the same time as Abigail. Marguerite was a few years younger than Abigail, but she looked much older due to a succession of bad dye jobs and what appeared to be a lifetime of sun damage spotting her skin. Colton seemed happy; from what little Abigail could discern of her boss's marriage, he genuinely longed for companionship and Marguerite's horselike laugh didn't turn him off so much that he considered her a poor match.

Although it was against her nature, shortly after the happy couple's beach wedding, Abigail went through a brief stage where she fixated on what might have been. The entire office had once been invited to Colton's sprawling house only a block off the ocean, and Abigail could almost picture herself the mistress of his columned colonial. What sort of a woman would she be if she were Mrs. McNally? What would she look like offering guests a second martini and lounging in some bright sari that she had bought on their honeymoon?

It was a nice scenario, but Abigail wasn't one to waste too much energy on regret, and she abandoned such nonsense the same way she set aside every other impossible dream: she placed it firmly out of her mind. A few years later when Blake and Colton approached her about being a partner, she was even able to congratulate herself that her business card would read Johnson, McNally & Bennett instead of Johnson, McNally & McNally. She convinced herself that it was much more satisfying this way.

For his part, after their less than romantic encounter in his office, Colton was nothing but a gentleman to Abigail. He treated her with the same respect, the same quiet yet somehow condescending pride of a father figure. Abigail was reduced from a possible lover to the discarded role of a dependable daughter. It was a character she was rather good at playing.

* * *

Lou Bennett was a father when he could have been a grandfather.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from The Moment Between by NICOLE BAART Copyright © 2009 by Nicole Baart. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2010

    Couldn't put it down

    Shows her growth as an author from her two previous books. Very gripping story offering insight into the world of mentally troubled people. Shows us a side of relationships that we can truly learn from and apply to our lives. Told in a riveting story that I wanted to keep reading until the end so I knew what would happen. Very well done. Can't wait for her next book.

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  • Posted March 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    "Dark", but well done!

    Although this novel is "dark", the story of two sisters, one suffering from mental disorders and a totally dysfunctional family, is engrossing. The pictures Baart drew with her words makes me want to visit Canada and search out a small, intimate winery and go tasting!

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding - Read and You Will Remember!

    Perfectly crafted, Nicole Baart tells the past while revealing the future in this emotionally charged story of a sister's dedication to family, selfish desires and her obsession for revenge.
    A wonderfully written tale, Baart's characters endure the very real issues of mental illness, selfish desires and the struggle to understand and except an undying, everlasting grace.
    Nicole Baart's writing is "real life fiction" at its best.
    Read it. Experience it. Remember it.

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  • Posted July 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing Quality of Writing

    Nicole Baart has dug a knife into the chilling fibers of habitual practices in humans. Stringing obsession, intent to kill, self-mutilation, and mental illness in the same line of thread, Baart crafted a story of redemption, discovering grace, and reconciling forgiveness amongst her heartbreaking tale of two broken sisters and a family unraveling with age. Her writing is lyrical, honest, and daring; her literary approach refreshing. She births characters so powerfully and animatedly, it's hard not to believe they are real, genuine people. Hailey Bennett was perhaps the most crafted and thought-provoking character. Baart welded a harrowing battle of spiritual pursuit within Hailey, that answered every "why" question concerning her motives and actions. Though, psychologically crooked and nonsensical, Hailey is marvelous in her faith and aggression. You'll root for her journey and she will ultimately break your heart, but she initiates a journey for her sister, Abigail, who will find an acceptance and peace that makes up for Hailey's sorrow.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

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    A haunting story about family

    In the opening pages of Nicole Baart's novel, The Moment Between, we meet Abigail Bennett, a successful accountant who lives in Florida. A tragedy rips apart her fragile life and sends her on a mission to exact revenge. Someone has to pay for what's happened. And it must be either Abigail or a man named Tyler Kamp.

    As Abigail tracks Tyler to Canada, the reader gets bits and pieces of the whole story through glimpses into Abigail's childhood and brief scenes from the tragedy itself. This book is filled with characters as real as your neighbors. You fall into their world, enraptured by what's taken place and how it all came to be. Nicole Baart weaves a haunting story that keeps you riveted as you hope for Abigail to surrender her heart to forgiveness with each turn of the page, almost praying that she won't do as she plans.

    I liked this book, though it's not the kind I usually read. I tend to love general market, action-adventure stories over the slow paced, literary type. But this book was far from boring. Nicole Baart built tension into every scene, and that's what kept me turning the pages, thoroughly enraptured by the story. I recommend this one to readers who love real characters suffering through real-life circumstances. This book will bring tragedy right up in your face and cause you to take a good look. But it will also remind you that no sin is ever beyond forgiveness.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    Powerful novel about sisterly love

    The Moment Between by Nicole Baart is a haunting and poignant elegy from one sister to another. Abigail Bennett has spent much of her life trying to become her own person outside of the ties of her dysfunctional family. Bi-polar sister Hailey has been the center around which the family orbited, leaving little attention or affection for Abigail. Her attempts to flee their reach resulted in a suicide attempt by Hailey and then the death of their mother. Abigail's response is to retreat into a life without dreams or hopes lived simply in the mundane day to day. Hailey pulls Abigail back into her orbit one final time with her suicide, but this time Abigail is the one spiraling out of control. She abandons her controlled and planned existence to track down the other person she feels is responsible for Hailey's death: Tyler Kamp. The search for Tyler takes her far out of her comfort zone and forces her to not only face her past, but her future as well. Baart writes lyrically and beautifully. The writing at the beginning of the story has a certain distance keeping the reader at arm's length, much like Abigail has kept life. But as cracks appear in her exterior, the writing warms up and becomes stronger, more passionate, pulling the reader deeply into the story. Baart raises many questions: who has the right of vengeance, how responsible are we for the actions of others, what does true love look like? It's a perfect story for book clubs and will keep readers thinking about the ending long after the cover is closed.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

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    Two Sisters

    Talk about impaired family living! Two sisters, one with a mental illness, plus a dysfunctional family equals a suicide and one sister on a quest to confront the guilty party. Abigail, firstborn, expert at pushing painful things down deep, appears to flourish on the outside. Hailey, the baby, stunningly beautiful, controls her world and its inhabitants by temper tantrums. Melody, definitely not Mom of the year, hides away when problems arise, and Lou, twisted in his love for one of his daughters, withholds love from the other.

    The story is told in the third person voice of Abigail, with flashbacks to her childhood. The day she finds her sister dead from self-infliction wounds is interspersed throughout and printed in italics. Descriptive, flowery writing comprises half of the novel, and I wish it were reduced. The dialogue is excellent.

    Many references are made to Catholicism and the beliefs of Catholics.

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  • Posted April 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A winner

    Thirtyish accountant Abigail Bennett enjoys working at Johnson, McNally & Bennett in Rosa Beach, Florida although tax season can be hectic. However, her life explodes when tragedy strikes her younger sister, Hailey. Unable to cope, an obsessed Abigail seeks closure so she quits her partnership and travels to British Columbia to confront Hailey's boyfriend Tyler Kamp.--------------

    In the Canadian winery where Tyler works, Abigail meets him. She begins to make friends with him and others employed there and surprisingly she finds she likes Tyler. Abigail also finds he cannot give her closure; only by turning to God might she find what she seeks.-----------

    The story line contains two rotating subplots: the present with Abigail in Canada and the past as she and her family relations unfold. Filled with passion, Abigail keeps the overall plot focused with her first person viewpoint and her actions in the third person perspective. Although the support cast outside of the two sisters are never lucid enough especially Tyler to understand who they are beyond how they relate to the siblings, Nicole Baart provides a deep poignant look at how mental illness takes a toll on anyone in that person's circle especially family.------------------

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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