They stared at each other, and Maggie felt the tightness in her middle expand as it shifted, burning its way up – Painful sobs rose from her throat as Colin, his face expressionless now, reached for his mobile and dialled 999. When three-year-old Olivia disappears, her parents are overwhelmed with grief. Weeks go by and Olivia’s mother refuses to leave the cottage, staring out at the turbulent sea and praying it didn’t claim her precious daughter’s life. Not far away, another mother watches proudly as her daughter starts school. Jennifer has loved Hailey for five years, but the child is suddenly moody and difficult, and there’s a niggling worry of doubt that Jennifer cannot shake off. As she struggles to maintain control there are gaps in her story that even she can’t explain. Time is running out for Maggie at the cottage, and also for Jennifer and Hailey. No-one can underestimate a mother’s love for her child, and no-one can predict the lengths one will go to, to protect her family.
This is a story of two families. Maggie and Colin are on holiday in Cornwall, when their daughter Livvy goes missing. For Maggie, the pain and guilt is unbearable. Heavily pregnant Jennifer has a five year old daughter, Hailey. Hailey has become more difficult to manage and thankfully is starting school. Jennifer is waiting for her husband to return from America, and for life to get back to normal.
What impressed me was the way Linda Huber dealt with difficult issues, like pain and loss, child abuse and in no way was sentimental. There was a mature feel to the emotional content. This is an intelligent read, that leaves you reflecting on how you would cope in Jennifer or Maggie’s situation.
A split second lack of attention had led to their daughter going missing. Colin and Maggie both blamed each other and you could tell their relationship is falling apart. As for Jennifer, this thread of the book was the most fascinating. Jennifer’s character and motivation are slowly revealed over the course of the book. Initially we see a cold, unfeeling mother and it takes a while to put this into some kind of context. I found myself feeling a great deal of empathy for her.