Eight years ago Tess and Jake were considered a power couple of the New York publishing world - happy, in love, planning a family. Failed fertility treatments and a heartbreaking attempt at adoption have fractured their marriage and left Tess edgy and adrift. A visit to friends in rural Vermont throws Tess' world into further chaos when she sees a young, half-dressed child in the middle of the road who then runs into the woods like a frightened deer.
"Where she lost me -- at the start!"
As an adult, Indie has moved far away from her parents, and created a new life with her longtime companion, Peter, a sensitive and steadfast partner. Together they have forged a simple and happy life in the back woods of Maine. But one autumn evening, a late night phone call from her younger sister sends Indie reeling back into the chaos of her troubled family, and she reluctantly returns home.
In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife twelve years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly. Still wracked with sorrow over his loss and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes. Then one day, a train derails in Two Rivers and Harper finds a chance at atonement.
"Very slow, couldn't figure out the plot"
In 1960, Billie Valentine is a young housewife living in a sleepy Massachusetts suburb, treading water in a dull marriage and caring for two adopted daughters. Summers spent with the girls at their lakeside camp in Vermont are her one escape - from her husband's demands, from days consumed by household drudgery, and from the nagging suspicion that life was supposed to hold something different. Then a new family moves in across the street. Ted and Eva Wilson have three children and a fourth on the way, and their arrival reignites long-buried feelings in Billie.
"Women's Issues of the 50s Explored"
One November morning, Ben Bailey walks out of his Flagstaff, Arizona, home to retrieve the paper. Instead, he finds Ricky Begay, a young Navajo man, beaten and dying in the newly fallen snow. Unable to forget the incident, especially once he meets Ricky's sister, Shadi, Ben begins to question everything, from his job as a part-time history professor to his fianceé, Sara. When Ben first met Sara, he was mesmerized by her optimism and easy confidence. These days, their relationship only reinforces a loneliness that stretches back to his fractured childhood.
Every family photograph hides a story. Some are suffused with warmth and joy, others reflect the dull ache of disappointed dreams. For 13-year-old Trevor Kennedy, taking photos helps make sense of his fractured world. His father, Kurt, struggles to keep a business going while also caring for Trevor's aging grandfather, whose hoarding has reached dangerous levels. Trevor's mother, Elisabeth, all but ignores her son while doting on his five-year-old sister, Gracy, and pilfering useless drugstore items. Trevor knows he can count on little Gracy's unconditional love and his art teacher's encouragement.
Effie Greer watches the final days of summer play out from her grandparents' home in Lake Gormlaith, Vermont, with her boyfriend, Max. Despite the idyllic setting, Effie is hiding a secret. With a heated temper and shattered past, Max is headed toward self-destruction, and Effie, unwilling to let go, is close behind. Slowly, Effie begins to gain the strength necessary to leave the suffocating relationship. But on the evening she decides to go, Max's violence results in a tragic boating accident and the death of a child.
"Good story - odd narrator"
It's been five years since the Mason family vacationed at the lakeside cottage in northeastern Vermont, close to where prize-winning novelist Samuel Mason grew up. The summers that Sam; his wife, Mena; and their twins, Franny and Finn, spent at Lake Gormlaith were noisy, chaotic, and nearly perfect. But since Franny's death, the Masons have been flailing, one step away from falling apart. Lake Gormlaith is Sam's last, best hope of rescuing his son from a destructive path and salvaging what's left of his family.
At thirty, Piper Kincaid feels too young to be dying. Cancer has eaten away her strength; she’d be alone but for a childhood friend who’s come home by chance. Yet with all the questions of her future before her, she’s adrift in the past, remembering the fateful summer she turned fourteen and her life changed forever. With no one to rely on, Piper struggled to hold on to what was important. She had a brother who loved her and a teacher enthralled with her potential. But her mother’s absence, her father’s distance, and a volatile secret threatened her delicate balance.