Mira, Feb 2004, 23.95, 384 pp.
On Christmas Eve 1990, Annie O'Neill and her thirteen year old daughter Lacey work at woman's shelter on the Carolina Outer Banks. Suddenly, an angry man, Zachary Pointer breaks into the shelter with a gun. He fires apparently at his wife, but instead kills Annie. Lacey is traumatized and over the years heads down a destructive path of men and drugs.
Years later Lacey learns that her mother was not the perfect paragon as the woman had affairs. Feeling betrayed, Lacey vows no more men and no more volunteer work as she will do nothing that emulates her mother's good and bad behavior. However, Lacey has a new problem to deal with and it is a very important one. Her deceased best friend named her as guardian to her troubled preadolescent Mackenzie. To help the traumatized child, Lacey will have to finally confront the ghost of Annie that haunts her every moment of her life.
HER MOTHER'S SHADOW is an intriguing character study that provides the audience with a deep look at how a tragedy can impact the survivor. The fine story line works quite well as Lacey copes poorly with her mother's death and then with her mother crashing from the pedestal that she built for her. Mackenzie serves as an impetus to force Lacey to deal with her image of her mother and how that has stopped her from being all she can be. Sub-genre fans will find Diane Chamberlain's latest Outer Banks tale quite fascinating even if at times it is a bit sentimental.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner