I thought this was an excellent book. Many times while reading it, I had to just stop. Take a break. And read again. The subject matter was intense at times and emotionally charged. I rated this book 5 stars.
Ella Beene, married to Joe, lives in the small picturesque town of northern California, with the redwood forests surrounding them, and the ocean not far away. When Ella married Joe, he brought into the marriage his two young children, abandoned by their biological mother. For three years, life has been blissful for Ella, and the children have embraced her, all but forgetting the mother who abandoned them. After a tragic accident, Ella finds herself face to face with Paige, the children's biological mother, at Joe's funeral, intent and determined to get her children back. Horrified, Ella soon begins to see the cracks in the story Joe has woven for her.
Having never had to be a step-parent, but having to deal with an ex-spouse, who used the children as pawns, I could relate. You try to be the best parent you can, and put your children's best interest first, but then the other "parent" sabotages you, lies, breaks the law, is underhanded and does everything in their power to destroy you, and you have to remain positive for your children and not let the negativity permeate. It can be and is difficult.
Maybe having this inside perspective I could feel the pain of Ella, and wonder what Paige's intentions were, but also understand Paige's pain and loss.
We all have 20/20 hindsight. But until we are put in a situation, we can only make an educated guess as to how we would react. I think this is an insightful book, and could be helpful to those who may be going through these issues.