Gabriella's world is a confusing blend of abuse, terror, and pain with no safe place to hide from her parents' violent rage. She gains reprieve when she is abandoned to a convent, a safe, peaceful place where her battered body and soul begin to mend and grow into womanhood. Then a young priest comes into her life. Confession leads to friendship. And friendship grows dangerously into love...
"What a sad story"
From her secret perch at the top of the stairs, Gabriella Harrison watches the guests arrive at her parents' lavish Manhattan town house. At seven, she knows she is an intruder in her parents' life. Later, hiding in a closet, the click, click, click of her mother's high heels will strike terror in her heart. Gabriella believes, as she is told, that she is to blame for her mother's rage -- and her father's failure to protect her. Her world is a confusing blend of terror, betrayal, and pain. Her parents' aristocratic world is no safeguard against the abuse that knows no boundaries, respects no person, no economic lines. Gabriella knows that, try as she might, there is no safe place for her to hide. Even as a child, her only escape is through the stories she writes. Only writing can dull the pain of her lonely world. And when her parents' marriage collapses, Gabriella is given her first reprieve, as her father disappears, and then her mother abandons her to a convent. There, Gabriella's battered body and soul begin to mend. Amid the quiet safety and hushed rituals of the nuns, Gabriella grows into womanhood in a safe, peaceful world. Then a young priest comes into her life. Father Joe Connors never questioned his vocation until Gabriella entered the confessional and shared her soul. Confession leades to friendship. And friendship grows dangerously into love. Like Gabriella, Joe is haunted by the pain of his childhood, consumed by guilt over a family tragedy, for which he blames himself. With Gabriella, Joe takes the first steps toward healing. But their relationship leads to disaster as Joe must choose between priesthood and Gabriella, and life in the real world where he fears he does not belong, and cannot cope. Exiled and disgraced, and nearly destroyed, Gabriella struggles to survive on her own in New York. There she seeks healing and escape through her writing again, this time as an adult, she is beyond hurt.