What do you do when your one long-held hope is finally realized – and it’s nothing like you expected?
What happens when you find out that most of your life has been a lie?
Holly Chamberlain’s newest novel, Seashell Season, tackles this and more in a book that will tug on your heartstrings.
When Verity Peterson’s baby was two months old, her estranged husband runs off with baby Gemma. For sixteen years, Verity has waited, and hoped, patiently, that she would be found and returned to her.
And sixteen years after being abducted, she is. While Verity is overjoyed, Marni Armstrong – the name her father gave her – feels nothing of this. She has grown up thinking that her grandparents were dead, that her mother was a drug addict who didn’t want her, and while she hasn’t had the easiest life, she’s lost the one person she knows and has trusted – her father – when he is jailed.
It’s a fascinating look at relationships and just what makes a family. Verity and Marni/Gemma circle each other, Verity anxiously and Marni with a bit of animosity and biting commentary. As a mother, the pain evoked in the first part of the book was palpable. But stepping into the shoes of a near 18-year-old, Chamberlain manages to present a pretty heartfelt picture of a girl who has overcome a childhood of instability, change and disappointment that has made her the resilient person she is. Over the course of the summer, Gemma takes back her name as she looks more closely at everything she thinks she knows about her parents and her loyalty to her father.
It’s also an interesting look at nurture versus nature, as Gemma discovers (and hides) a natural talent for drawing which she would have inherited from her mother. Acknowledging that link would be opening up to acknowledging their relationship.
Chamberlain inserts more conflict with the arrival of Gemma’s aunt and uncle on the scene – a couple that even Verity has never met, not even when her husband Alan disappeared all those years earlier. I must confess that I haven’t felt this anxious reading a book in some time while being glued to the (electronic) pages.
This is a book that is made for long stretches of reading with a tall, cool iced tea in hand, because you won’t want to put it down.
Seashell Season was released today by Kensington Books. Holly Chamberlain has written 14 books and contributed to 5 anthologies, and you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and on her website, http://www.hollychamberlin.com