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Anna Vincenzi had never seen so many reporters. Not even in the days when her sister's every move was gobbled up by millions hungry for the smallest scrap-or in the aftermath of the accident that had left Monica paralyzed from the waist down. They swarmed like insects at the end of the drive, where it emptied onto Old Sorrento Road, jockeying for position, Minicams and boom mikes poised to strike. Lining the road were interchangeable white panel trucks sprouting satellite dishes and antennae nearly as tall as the surrounding sycamores. A blond female anchor decorously holding a microphone to her glossy lips stood with her back to the hedge in the glare of a handheld re-flector while a scruffy-looking cameraman filmed her stand-up. For a disoriented instant, as the patrol car bumped its way down the pot-holed drive amid a boiling cloud of dust, Anna felt as though she were watching it all on TV. Then someone shouted, "It's her!" and all hell broke loose.
Panic sluiced through her in an icy wave as bodies surged around the car, slowing it to a crawl. Knuckles rapped against her window and faces loomed into view, distorted by the sun's glare glancing off the dust-streaked glass. A man's voice bellowed, "Anna! Can you comment on your arrest?" Another one rasped, "Did ya do it? Did you kill her, Anna?" The cop behind the wheel, a heavyset middle-aged man with pale creases on the back of his tanned neck, swore. "Christ. Don't they feed these animals?" Anna wanted to shout, I'm innocent! This is all a mistake! But when she reached for the button to roll her window down she once more became aware of the handcuffs holding her shackled at the wrists, and stoppedshort.
That was when it sank in: She was under arrest. Which was why, on this sunny day in April, with the daylilies in bloom and the acacia snowing yellow blossoms over the mailbox-which leaned drunkenly, a legacy from when Finch had been learning to drive-she was on her way downtown to be booked.
A wave of dizziness spiraled up and the world went pale and grainy, like the snowy reception on the old black-and-white Zenith in her mother's bedroom. She thought, This isn't happening. In fact, the past few days had been nothing short of surreal-starting early Friday morning with the hysterical call from Arcela. Even with all that had happened since, it still hadn't sunk in. How could her sister be dead? It was like trying to grasp that the planet had spun off its axis.
It was 70 degrees outside but Anna was chilled to the bone. With some difficulty-the handcuffs made even the slightest movement ungainly-she drew about her a sweater that she'd grabbed from the closet on her way out the door and that was several sizes too big. She must have forgotten to pack it up with the rest of her fat clothes. Her mouth flickered in a small ironic smile. And she'd thought being overweight was her biggest worry.
The patrol car slowed to a near standstill. Vic Purdy, in the passenger seat, a veteran cop with more than thirty years under his belt-one that over time had had to be let out a few notches to accommodate his ever-expanding girth-rolled his window down to bark, "Move it along, folks! You'll all get your chance down at the courthouse!"
A set of meaty fingers hooked over Vic's partially lowered window and a face loomed into view, only its upper half visible: a pair of beady eyes peering from under an australopithecine brow. "Anna! Did ya do it for the money? Your sister must've left you a bundle." The fingers were snatched back just in time to keep them from being caught in the window as it whirred up. The cop behind the wheel muttered another curse and gunned the engine. They jerked forward, the throng fanning out on either side, then with a final lurch over the worst of the potholes, in which every spring at least one hapless motorist became mired, they were on the road.
Hearing her name spoken-no, shouted-had had the effect of cold water being dashed over her. Ever since she could remember, it had been Monica in the spotlight, Monica they clamored for. Few had even noticed Monica's mousy nobody of a sister-whose last name was Vincenzi, not Vincent-standing quietly off to the side. Anna might have found it exciting, that she was the center of attention now, if the circumstances that had placed her there hadn't been so ghastly.
The patrol car picked up speed as it headed toward town, a pale scarf of dust twisting in its wake. Anna sat rigidly in her seat, staring out the window at the fields and pastures scrolling past. They rattled over cattle grids and jounced over potholes. Cows and horses, peacefully grazing, flashed by like storybook images from a period in her life long past. The cop seated beside her, a young Hispanic woman, asked if she wanted the air conditioner turned down. Anna, who hadn't realized she was shivering, turned toward her, noticing her for the first time. irma rodriguez, her nameplate read. She had glossy black hair pulled back in a braid and would have been pretty if not for the acne that had ravaged her face. Anna found herself mentally counseling: Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, stay away from saturated fats, and cleanse with a good exfoliative. But Irma Rodriguez wasn't one of Monica's fans seeking advice.
Anna recalled the last e-mail to which she'd replied, just hours before word came of Monica's death.
To: Mamabear@earthlink.com From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: What now?
What's going to be different this time? From what you've told me, he's begged your forgiveness before. If he were really sincere, he'd get help. But if he won't, that shouldn't stop you from doing so. If not for yourself, then for your kids. Do you want them growing up this way? Do you think the fact that he hasn't hit them-yet-is any reason to keep from leaving him? There are other ways to damage a child, believe me.
Now she would never know how it had all turned out. Not just for Jolene, but for the countless others to whom she'd doled out big sisterly advice, everything from beauty tips to safe sex. What if they found out she had been posing as Monica? Would they feel betrayed, think-ing it some sort of cruel joke, not something she'd fallen into almost by accident, the result of Monica's indifference to her fans?
The thought brought a sharp stab to the pit of her stomach. Would she get the chance to tell them she'd had only their best interests at heart?
Irma offered her a stick of gum. Anna sensed she was nervous, like someone on a first date. Crimes of this sort were almost unknown in Carson Springs. There'd been the nun murders the year before last, but Sister Beatrice was now safely locked away in an institution for the criminally insane. Other than that, the most that ever happened were Waldo Squires's overnight detentions for being drunk and disorderly. Now, with Monica's death, cops whose public exposure had been limited to addressing the town council about such matters as the need for more parking meters downtown found themselves thrust into the glare of the limelight.
Posted August 30, 2007
Posted September 20, 2006
Maybe if I had read the first two novels this would have been more interesting. Trite story, cliche, rambling, mystery anticlimatic (no one did it!) The subplot with Finch was a distraction. Too much time spent on it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 6, 2005
Posted August 26, 2005
This is the third book and of all the Carson Springs books, my favorite. I could not put it down. I just hope Ms. Goudge decides to continue the Carson Springs series....would like to see a story about Finch finding her family.....Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 25, 2004
A Wish Came True, is the final book in the Carson Spring series.It is a compelling book as you watch Anna overcome her sister's shadow into confident woman. Eileen Goudge writes about compelling characters that are as real as you and me. She is one of the best-selling writers of our time. I would highly recommend reading the entire series, as well as any of her other novels. You will not be disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2004
The writing and plot mapping of this book are more juvenile that that of Nancy Drew (a series also mentioned in the book). At least, Nancy practiced a little restraint and knew her limitations. The writer even includes an embarrassing reference to Oprah, which should be enough to clue any discerning reader not to proceed. The book abounds with unnecessary characters and throw-away lines that should never have been allowed to drip from the author's pen. But even this stanching would not have been sufficient to pull the novel up to a readable status.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 2, 2008
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Posted November 2, 2008
No text was provided for this review.