This book starts out promisingly enough. An affluent man in South Carolina has a daughter named Callie, ostensibly an only child. He adopts Bode Jessup, so Callie can have a brother. He also brings two young girls from disadvantaged and dysfunctional families, Brie and Sela, to be Callie's playmates, but they end up spending most of their time in the Parker household.
As Callie's mother is a sick woman and her father is a busy man, the roost is ruled by Mamma Pearl, a larger than life African American woman. She becomes the center of the universe for these three children, who look to her as a mother figure and love her dearly. Mamma Pearl also loves and cherishes these children, sacrificing her life to their well being.
When they are all young adults, however, intrigue and turmoil bubble under the surface, as their true feelings for each other begin to emerge on the eve of Callie's wedding. The catalyst for a great emotional catharsis is the tragic accident that leaves Callie in a coma on her wedding day. As events unfold, shocking family secrets are revealed, ripping the blinders from their eyes, as all was not what it seemed.
The book, which started off promisingly enough, begins to head south, as a series of revelations, increasingly implausible, are divulged. Moreover, the personalities of the characters seem to change at the drop of a dime, depending upon the circumstances. This tends to render them two dimensional, as there is no real character development. This deficiency in the writing serves to further highlight the implausibility of the storyline. Moreover, some of the surprises in store for the reader are positively ridiculous. The secrets about Bode and Callie are especially ludicrous, making the book almost laughable.
The only thing that seems to save this audio book is the reading by Laural Lerlington, who does an excellent job with the material with which she had to work. The fact that the book is rife with dialogue, rather than narrative, works to the advantage of the book when read aloud, and Ms. Lerlington does a masterful job of infusing the characters with as much personality as possible. While the reading rates four stars, the content of the book rates two, resulting in an overall rating of three stars.