Counting things in threes usually calms Dell’s crippling anxiety—the passionflower vine along the shop wall, the jimsonweed by the roadside, the sleeping valley in the distance—but when her baby daughter goes missing, her world shatters completely.
1979, Virginia. Growing up amongst the sprawling valleys and forests of Blyth, beautiful young Dell has always had a natural intuition for how to fix other people’s hurts, if not her own. She hopes for a better future, although thanks to her alcoholic father and narcissistic mother, happiness seems far out of her reach. She certainly could never have predicted holding her baby girl for the first time, and the life-changing, powerful love she would feel when she did.
Even as a heartbroken single mother in a small town riddled with gossips, she suddenly feels that she can do this. She can raise her daughter. But when she turns to her own mother for help, her mother convinces her that the child would be better off with another family. With nobody to fight her corner, Dell must watch the local church take the baby away, leaving her alone and completely devastated.
Dell feels there’s nothing left for her in her tiny hometown but heartache and shattered dreams, and so she flees, vowing never to go back. It finally seems like luck is on her side when she finds a small shop for rent, overlooking the peaceful Shenandoah Valley. This quiet corner of paradise feels like the perfect place to heal and use her gift to help others heal, too. Until Dell’s mother tracks her down to deliver crushing news—her baby girl is missing.
Dell knows she won’t find out where her child is in the stars or on her palms. Instead, she must do the one thing she promised she never would. She must return to Blyth. Will what Dell finds there finally heal her fragile heart, or break it into a thousand irreparable pieces?
When you come from a broken family, you might feel that you are not fit to become a parent yourself. You are willing to try if someone would reach out and give you the support to go through with it, to give you enough love to choose your side. When you find yourself all alone, there is only one thing left to do.
Sometimes when you love someone deeply, but are too afraid to do the wrong thing, you have to do the only right thing there is left : leave.
But can you stay away or is that overpowering feeling of love making you go back? Will there be a reunion and a happy ever after or will the rift be irreparable?
It makes me realise once again that people are not mind readers. It’s not because an idea or a situation is clear in our own head that it’s clear to other people as well. You might consider giving a bit more information instead of only half a sentence. I would solve a lot of problems and misunderstandings.
A lovely story. 4 stars.
Thank you, Kelly Heard and Bookouture (via Netgalley)
About the author
Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Kelly Heard now lives in Richmond with her husband, spoiled house cat, and two-year-old daughter. She writes poetry, adult fiction, and creative nonfiction. When she is not writing or reading, Kelly enjoys spending her time gardening, cooking, and playing the ukulele for her toddler.