Young veterinarian Rachel Goddard’s world begins to crumble when a client rushes into the animal hospital with a dog struck by a car during a thunderstorm. The woman’s terrified child, drenched with rain, loses sight of her mother in the flurry of activity and screams, “Mommy! I want Mommy!” Instantly Rachel is hurled back in time to a day in her own childhood when her baby sister, Michelle, uttered the same cry while thunder crashed and rain poured down on them. The unearthed memory feels like a fragment of a nightmare, and Rachel doesn’t understand its meaning or the anguish it stirs up in her.
When she seeks answers, she learns nothing from Michelle or from Judith, their loving but manipulative mother. Judith is a psychologist who is only too happy to have her adult daughters still living in her elegant Tudor house outside Washington, DC. But their apparently serene home is a house of secrets where Judith’s unspoken rules forbid questions about the family history or the daughters’ long-dead father. As more baffling memories surface, Rachel begins to suspect that nothing about her family is what it seems.
Fighting her mother’s attempts to control her, Rachel embarks on a quest that takes her not only deep into her own memory but also halfway across the country. The truth she uncovers will shatter her world and force her to make an unthinkable choice.
Sandra Parshall, a former newspaper reporter, is the author of the Rachel Goddard mysteries, the first of which won the Agatha Award in 2006.
©2012 Sandra Parshall (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
I read the second book in this series before the first was available on Audible. To her credit, Sandra Parshall didn't give away any of the essence of this book in the sequel (as authors of series sometimes do, to update a reader). Even more to her credit, this book is excellent as either a stand alone, or introduction to the series that will come after. This is a mystery arising from one woman's strange fragmentary memories, eerie moments of angst, but not being able to piece them together. She has to find their meaning, despite the anguish it will cause her to know.
Rachel Goddard and her sister Michelle are both adults, still living at home with their mother, who has subtle ways of controlling them which Rachel senses more than her sister. Mother uses some fairly unconventional means to organize all their lives, and it is very difficult for Rachel to find the emotional strength to investigate the secrets that haunt her. Luke, another doctor she works with in the veterinary clinic, helps her find the courage to explore her troubling dreams and sensations, even though it will lead to surprising twists and turns in the book.
I really liked the second book, and figured then it was going to be a good series, but now hearing this first book puts a lot of what was in the second in better perspective. I like that the author has created characters who have an intriguing back story, and feel that she has a good balance with setting the stage with deeply drawn characters in this book (appropriate to the whole story), but using only what is needed in the next book. Rachel is an interesting and inspiring protagonist. I really liked this book, and look forward to reading more in the series.
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