A young widow raising two boys, Sarah Laden is struggling to keep her family together. But when a shocking revelation rips apart the family of her closest friend, Sarah finds herself welcoming yet another troubled young boy into her already tumultuous life.
Jordan, a quiet, reclusive elementary school classmate of Sarah's son Danny, has survived a terrible ordeal. By agreeing to become Jordan's foster mother, Sarah will be forced to question the things she has long believed. And as the delicate threads that bind their family begin to unravel, all the Ladens will have to face difficult truths about themselves and one another—and discover the power of love necessary to forgive and to heal.
Master caterer Sarah Laden is barely holding her life together as a widow with two difficult sons-recalcitrant teen Nate and troubled fifth-grader Danny-when the unthinkable happens. Her best friend and neighbor, Courtney Kendrick, is arrested in a child sex abuse scandal. Courtney's husband has vanished; their 11-year-old son, Jordan, is in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt; and across the street Nate is finding, in Jordan's backpack, evidence of unthinkable abuse. Kittle (Traveling Light; Two Truths and a Lie) crafts a disturbing but compelling story line, as Sarah, Nate and Jordan uncover and come to terms with the horror in alternating chapters. Sarah, for instance, is shocked to learn that she dropped off food for the Kendricks' sex parties; Jordan must decide whether or not he wants to continue a relationship with his mother-who insists she's innocent-if and when she gets acquitted. Kittle's research sits awkwardly in expository dialogue-"One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before their eighteenth birthdays," intones the detective who will later become Sarah's love interest-but it doesn't slow the momentum. Though the movement is toward healing, there are bumpy roads ahead for everybody in this melodramatic but gripping read. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.