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An after-school stroll leads to a life-altering event for widower Robert Dillon and his 12-year-old daughter, Nicky, in this delicate new novel by acclaimed author Shreve (All He Ever Wanted,etc.). In the woods surrounding their secluded home in Shepherd, N.H., Robert and Nicky make a startling discovery—a baby abandoned and left to die in the snow. The infant survives, but the incident leaves its mark. Still recovering from the painful loss of her mother and infant sister two years earlier, and readjusting to the shock of a sudden move from suburban Westchester to rural Shepherd, Nicky struggles to reconcile her innocent notions of adult integrity with the bleak reality of their discovery. The tenuous sense of normalcy Robert manages to sustain is broken with the appearance of Charlotte, the baby's young mother, on his doorstep. Retold 18 years later by an adult Nicky but written in the present tense, the story shifts brilliantly between childlike visions of a simple world and the growing realization of its cruel ambiguities. Aside from a few saccharine moments and a rather pat ending, Shreve does a skilled job of portraying grief, conflict and anger while leaving room for hope, redemption and renewal. Her characters are sympathetic without being pitiable, and her prose remains deceptively simple and eloquent throughout.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The prolific Shreve has been a fixture on best-seller lists ever since Oprah picked The Pilot's Wife (1998) as one of her book-club selections. In her latest, Robert Dillon and his 12-year-old daughter, Nicky, discover a newborn baby abandoned in the snowy woods. As they rush the baby to the hospital, Nicky senses that the vulnerable infant has somehow unleashed her and her father's private demons. Nicky lost her mother and baby sister in an automobile accident more than a year earlier; her father's response to his overwhelming grief was to uproot them from their life in New York and move to rural New Hampshire. He has purposefully isolated himself from the outside world, keeping contact with other people to a minimum. But now the abandoned baby has forced them to act, and the two are suddenly plunged into dealing with the world-weary detective who catches the case and, later, with the distraught mother of the baby, who ends up snowbound in their house for days. Her presence forces Nicky and her father to move beyond their personal tragedy. Although Shreve continually underlines her characters' grief and desperation, their emotions seem too neat and their responses somewhat formulaic. Nevertheless, Shreve's expert pacing produces a fast read that will more than satisfy her many fans. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.