What would you do if your childhood home held nothing but bad memories? Zoe Rutherford returns to her childhood home on Sullivan’s Island, SC. The story begins with her remembering her little sister, Hannah. Hannah had disappeared in 1986 and was never found. Zoe felt guilty. Yes, she was only ten years old, but she’d not been particularly close to her eight year old sister. In fact, she often wondered if she loved her at all. Zoe was closer to her brother, Nicky. She became more like a mother to him since their mother had closed herself off to the world and from them. Hannah was their father’s favorite. After she disappeared, he was often emotionally cruel to Zoe … openly blaming her.
She tries to focus on why she’s there. She’s not there to relive the past; she’s there to make the home saleable after the death of her parents and the more recent abandonment of the renters. Even after she’d left home decades before, she’d been involved in a disastrous relationship that she wouldn’t give up on until now.
One of the best components of this novel is one of contradiction. Old, neglected, and full of grim memories, the house contrasts dramatically with the beautiful and restful coastal scenery of Sullivan’s Island. Relying on flashbacks, the author pieces together the lives of this dysfunctional family and the mystery anchored to Hannah’s disappearance. It had a rather slow beginning; it evolved into an emotional drama, yet a grim one. Rating: 3 out of 5.