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 convinced 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 to 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 pieces?
Adelia, known as Dell, didn’t have the best experiences of growing up, with a mother who is totally self absorbed in herself, a father who is injured on the job and his wife leaving him, turns to pills to block out his life, and a brother who is overprotective. She feels so alone.
The story is told in the past and the present with alternating chapters, this seems to be quite a common thing at the moment, I am not always keen on this but with this book it works. Dell had become pregnant and believed the father would pick his family over her, so she felt she had no choice but to give the baby up for adoption.
She left the place she grew up in and swore she would never go back, she didn’t think anyone knew where she had gone to, that no one would ever be able to find her, but then her mother turns up and tells her that her baby is missing. Dell hadn’t wanted to give up the baby in the first place, it was her mother that had persuaded her that it was for the best. She returns to the town in the hope that she will be able to find her baby. But is she destined to always feeling alone and heartbroken?
This is an emotional story examining the choices Dell made, the romance that she had with the father of the baby is quite central to the story, seeing Dell grow.
This is a well crafted story not just about a missing baby, there is romance, between Dell and Mason the father of her child, which was a surprise when you read the actual synopsis of the book. I had expected it to be more of a thriller type book, which it totally isn’t.
The book draws on a lot of emotion, the relationship that a mother and daughter should have wasn’t there. You really felt for Dell, her mother is just not a nice person. You really want things to get better for Dell.
This is Kelly Heard’s debut novel. I look forward to seeing what she writes in the future.
I give this book four stars out of five.
I would like to thank netgalley and bookouture for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
This is Kelly Heards debut novel.