This book had me from the first chapter easily. As a mother of two, I can tell you the mere thought of losing my family turns me into a puddle and if I had known how emotional I would become, I would certainly have kept my tissues close at hand before I even opened the book!
When Rachel loses her family to a storm on the open sea, her whole world collapses around her. She no longer wants to live, until she notices signs from her departed loved ones that they want her to carry on. Rachel has become such a recluse she is considered a witch from most of the town’s children. She decides to pack up her life and start over alone on an island that I can only compare to a small veritable paradise. When she finally comes calm and accepts her lot in life she is impacted by yet another eventful storm. This storm wrecks another person’s life, a small child who loses her family as well, bringing them both together in ways no one will truly understand until later in the book.
As the small child grows, reminding her everyday of the child she has lost, Rachel finds that her new ‘daughter’ has abilities unlike other children. Abigail can not only see spirits, she can talk to them and animals. Her abilities often have her communicating to Rachel’s departed daughter. The two live on the island well past Abigail’s formative years, until Rachel’s guilt finally gets the best of her.
Ms. Orenstein’s writing so haunting and poetic. The twists and turns that she has woven into this story will not disappoint. You may wonder why a woman would ever consider hiding away with a child who is not her own, and why her conscience has not allowed her to do the ‘right’ thing, but if you are a parent you could definitely understand the psychosis of losing a child and how that might change your decisions.
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