Published by Corvus
Ebook and Paperback (2 May 2019)
About the Book
To lose your family is heart-breaking.
To be forgotten by them is unforgivable.
Cassie and Erin are sisters. They are close – in age, looks and personality – but there is one crucial difference: Cassie is adopted.
At seventeen, Cassie sets out to find her birth mother. She is hungry for the truth, but she discovers her adoption was far more complicated than even she could have imagined. In uncovering her past identity Cassie learns her adoptive parents have kept a terrible secret from her her whole life, which now threatens to destroy everything she has ever held dear.
A heart-rending, profoundly moving novel about protecting the ones you love from the secrets that will hurt them most, perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.
The house phone was ringing, which was unusual. Grace ignored it. She carried on stacking the dishwasher. The people she knew – the people she loved – rang her mobile. It would be a sales call. They had a cheek. Friday nights should be sacrosanct. The answerphone kicked in, mercifully cutting off the noise. She set the dishwasher running.
Through the kitchen window she could see Tom ambling round the garden, hands in his pockets, head bowed, inspecting his precious lawn. He looked at ease, relaxed – happy even. Grace felt her own shoulders loosen in response. It was still a lovely evening. They should make the most of it. She fetched a bottle of wine and some glasses and slipped on her flip-flops, intending to join her husband. They could sit out, enjoy the warmth, maybe talk things through again, see if they couldn’t come up with a different tack; their current approach plainly wasn’t working. Or perhaps not – perhaps not talking about Cassie was what they needed.
Grace heard the answerphone stop and reset.
She pushed open the back door and was about to step out into the fading light when the phone began ringing again. It sounded louder, more insistent. A chill rippled through her. She shouldn’t have ignored it the first time around. It was tempting fate to ignore a ringing phone. She crashed the wine and the glasses down onto the counter and hurried across the kitchen, stumbled and lost a flip-flop. She kicked off the other in frustration. The soles of her feet slapped across the unforgiving hardwood floor. It suddenly felt very important that she reach the phone before the caller gave up. She snatched at the receiver, nearly dropping it in her haste. ‘Hello.’
She could tell, instantly, that it wasn’t a call centre. ‘Yes?’ Her breathing echoed back at her through the handset.
‘Ah, good. I was having problems leaving a message. I think there’s something wrong with your answerphone.’ Grace wasn’t interested. The woman carried on. ‘Could you confirm your home address and date of birth for me, please?’
‘Sorry, but what’s this about?’ Her question came out more sharply than she’d intended, worry taking precedence over politeness.
‘If you could just confirm your address and date of birth, please, then I’ll be able to explain.’
Grace relented and gave her personal details. Balanced on the edge of panic, she looked round their hall, taking in its reassuring ordinariness. Tom appeared at the kitchen door.
The voice came back on the line. ‘Thank you. I’m sorry to inform you that your daughter’s been brought into A&E at the General Infirmary.’
Grace took a shallow breath. She’d imagined this phone call often enough over the years, endless nightmarish permutations of dreadful accidents and life-changing injuries, conjured up out of the overwhelming instinct to protect her children. But the reality was different. The reality was worse.
‘Mrs Haines? Did you hear me?’
Grace managed to respond calmly. ‘Yes. Sorry. What’s happened? Is she all right?’ Of course she wasn’t – she was in hospital. ‘I mean, how badly hurt is she?’ Tom raised his hand to his face, obscuring his expression.
The woman said, ‘I don’t have that information, I’m afraid. I’m just the booking clerk. I’ve been given your contact details and asked to request that you come in.’ There was a pause. The remote soundtrack of other people’s traumas reached down the line and insinuated itself into their home: a child crying, a raised voice, the muted but urgent peal of a siren. ‘Mrs Haines? Are you able to attend?’ There was a touch of impatience in the clerk’s voice now.
‘Of course. Yes. We’ll be there as soon as we can.’ ‘Thank you.’ The line went dead.
Grace carefully replaced the receiver, delaying, for a moment, the imperative to deal with what the woman had said. She looked at Tom.
‘Cassie?’ he said, although he didn’t really need to ask – he already knew.
About the Author
Caroline Bond was born in Scarborough and studied English at Oxford University before working as a market researcher for 25 years. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University, and lives in Leeds with her husband and three children.