Synopsis: Someday, Livvi Gray will break free from her past. Someday, she will escape her recurring nightmare about a stranger in a shimmering silver dress. Someday, she will have a family of her own. Now she's fund Andrew, and someday seems to be right around the corner.
But there's so much Livvi doesn't know. Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, she will come face-to-face with the stranger from her dream – an encounter that will alter Livvi's future and crack open everything she knew about her past.
Livvi is swiftly moving toward the ultimate turning point in her life – and she's not the only one. Linked by an unforgettable mystery, photographer Micah and young mother AnnaLee are also being rapidly drawn into a web of secrets about the unexpected ways in which we choose to protect – and betray – the people we love.
Stats for my copy: Hardback; published by Sourcebooks Landmark, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., 2013; 335 pages; won in a drawing on Bookreporter.
My thoughts: The prologue is somewhat mesmerizing, with a young girl named Olivia hiding from her father and stepmother, shivering in the cold while she waits to see if they will look for her. Then suffering when they find her.
Then Chapter 1 starts, with that little girl grown up, going by the name Livvi. And it's not as mesmerizing anymore. The book alternates chapters between Livvi, Micah and AnnaLee. Three separate stories that you know will eventually run together or interconnect in some way, though the connections didn't become apparent to me until about the last fourth of the book. Livvi has nightmares about a woman in pearl-button shoes. She's written a book, and has fallen in love with Andrew. She receives late night phone calls from someone who whispers to her and she quickly hangs up. She has secrets she keeps from Andrew, who turns out to have some secrets of his own.
Micah is a successful photographer who seems to have no friends and no family. She does nothing but work, and isn't even on a first name basis with her long time assistant. When she learns she has cancer, she sets out on some strange odyssey, unsure if she deserves to undergo treatment and live, or if she deserves to die. She has secrets.
AnnaLee's story is set in the past. She loves her husband and their precious little girl, Bella, but he's a dreamer who can't make a living, and she's slowly selling off family heirlooms to keep them afloat.
I struggled to finish this book. I never really connected with any of the characters or came to care about them for the most part. The writing style didn't appeal to me, at times feeling choppy and disjointed. For example, this is a paragraph from page 65:
After a while. After AnnaLee has let Jack lead her into the house. After Bella is tucked into bed. And President Reagan has begun a speech on television and twilight has come. The single, long-stemmed white rose remains forgotten on the terrace. Being buffeted by a cold wind that will soon strip it bare.
And this paragraph from page 79:
Several of the Laundromat's patrons look in Micah's direction. She stares them down until they turn away. Then. To calm herself. She runs her hands along the sides of her silk skirt, smoothing at nonexistent wrinkles.
I was considering putting the book down and giving up on it, when suddenly Andrew's big secret was revealed and Livvi's world was turned sideways, and I finally began to actually feel a little sympathy for her. And shortly after that, AnnaLee has her husband's angry teenage niece thrust upon her for the summer, and I began to admire and respect her a little. So those two story lines kept my attention enough that I finished the book, and for the last quarter I even got caught up in the overall interconnecting story and began turning pages quicker. But I still breathed a little sigh of relief when it was over and I could move on to something else.