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Twenty-six years is a long time not to be alive.
Since the accident that ruined her life, Catherine has lived on autopilot, going through the motions of work and motherhood without being fully present. Trying to fill the gap, her adult daughter, Julia, is looking for love in all the wrong places, and wreaking havoc on the lives that she touches along the way.
Just what will it take to shock Catherine back into life?
Rebecca doesn’t expect to make new friends at this stage of her life. But when she becomes mother to little Amy, she finds herself spending her afternoons in the park. There she meets other mothers: first flamboyant, fun Rose, and then single-mom Lilith, whose inner strength is tangible, and whose eyes never leave her toddler.
Very soon the women have formed a trio – the type of friends who feel at home in each other’s kitchens – and their daughters begin to behave like sisters. But Rebecca is about to learn that friendship is not always what it seems, and that sometimes you trust the wrong people. At exactly the moment when she needs to lean on them, one of her new friends harbours a shocking secret, and the other will turn on her in a way she could never have anticipated.
Her two park friends will change Rebecca’s life – and her family – forever.
It s Jordi Gordan s 55th birthday and she receives, as she has for every birthday for the last fifteen years, a message from Nico. While her husband, Hal, cooks her a birthday breakfast, she cries over her message from Nico because Jordi is a woman with a secret. During the course of the day, the reader follows Jordi around: to the traditional family breakfast and the handing out of gifts, then to a visit with her (now French-speaking and senile) elderly mother, to Thrupps for some groceries, to lunch with her best friend, the irrepressible Sally, and then home where she makes the final preparations for a business dinner party that evening (an unfortunate miscalculation of dates that has robbed her of a special night with Hal). As she goes about her preparations, we meet Jordi s friends and family and we get to see how her life is carefully constructed to screen all of them from her secret. Slowly, Jordi begins to tell us about Nico how she first met him and where, how they knew as soon as they met that there was something between them and how neither of them could act on it because of their marriages.For almost thirty years, she and Nico have been sidestepping each other in London, in New York, even in Jo burg. And at every turn we see how Jordi and Nico s lives are kept apart by Jordi s strong belief in the importance of her marriage vows. Even when she weakens and begins to indulge her fantasy of running away to be with Nico, there is always something to hold her back. As evening approaches, she puts Nico to the back of her mind and readies herself for her guests. The dinner party is a success and the atmosphere is laid back and casual. Then, while she is taking a break from the table, Jordi overhears two of her guests talking about her. Back at the table she confronts the women in an amiable kind of a way, but it becomes clear that something is not quite right. The conversation grinds to a halt before Moira, Jordi s poisonous sister-in-law, blurts out a shocking truth.
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