Amnesiac, newly pregnant Cassie Barrett is missing but returns to her husband, before she remembers the abuse and after hiding to give birth, she returns to her husband before realizing the abuse will never stop unless she forces it to stop. Cassie Barrett is found, injured and walking around downtown Los Angeles, knowing nothing about her identity. She is taken in by rookie police officer, Will Flying Horse, who attempts to help her find out who she is. She has significant injuries, however, that tell their own story and it is obvious that whatever happened before she was found was significant.
After only a few days, Cassie's husband comes to claim her. Surprisingly, he is the famous actor Alex Rivers and she is a well-known anthropologist. All the reports and interviews indicate that their marriage was healthy and strong, while their love story was one of the ages.
Unfortunately, that is not quite the truth. Domestic violence occurs in every community, including her own, and the injuries she sustained were not from an accident, but instead were inflicted by her husband. After a few days at home, she suddenly remembers everything her mind has blocked out, including years of abuse and most recently, a positive pregnancy test.
Quickly realizing that there is no way for her to get the help she needs, as long as everyone adores her husband, she turns to the only friend she has, Will Flying Horse. For reasons he is not sure of, he agrees to help her and scurries her away to the reservation he grew up on. He hated growing up in South Dakota, but for her, he briefly returns. Throughout her pregnancy, they fall in love, even though she is conflicted by her marriage and her feelings for her husband.
As she prepares for the duration of her pregnancy in South Dakota and careful not to let Alex know where she is, the reader is introduced to the Alex that she originally met and fell in love with. His childhood was one contaminated with domestic violence and child abuse.
He never wanted to become an abuser, but as so frequently occurs with survivors of abuse, he went on to repeat the cycle. It is also important to note that Cassie also grew up in a less than ideal family situation, with an alcoholic mother and a father who enabled her addiction.
Cassie gives birth to a healthy baby boy named Connor, and even though she knows it is not a good idea, she contacts Alex and lets him know. He promises to give her a month before coming to see them, but only waits two weeks. He convinces her to return home, with stereotypical promises about seeking counseling, never hitting her again and obviously, he cannot keep those promises.
Alex's reputation benefits from the reunification of his family, but there are many rumors that spread about their separation and her pregnancy. When he learns of the gossip about Connor's paternity and after quitting therapy, he viciously attacks her again. Of course, he apologizes later and tells her he didn't mean to hurt her, but it was the last straw.
She holds a press conference and announces her abuse, her fear for both her life and the life of their unborn baby when she left. She knows that this final step will make him hate her, bring the problem more into the public eye and essentially, make her safer than she has been during their entire four years of marriage.
Finally, she approaches Will Flying Horse and as the novel ends, there is the strong supposition that they will be able to be together.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved the story because it established the problem of domestic violence and that it happens in poor and rich families. She is strong, educated, financially well-off and yet goes back to her husband after hiding through most of her pregnancy. It really brought a face and an identity to domestic violence.
Best scene in story:
At almost the very end, at the press conference, she divulges a deeply personal experience. When she is asked what she would tell Alex ihe were here, she said that she would tell him what he always told her...She never meant to hurt him. It is very clear that she is aware she cannot turn off her conflicting feelings of love, hate and fear for Alex, so she is doing her best to make him hate her. It was obvious that even though she had been abused by Alex so badly, she didn't trust herself to stay away from him, so she is doing the next best thing to defend herself and her son,
Opinion about the main character:
Although I love the idea of domestic violence being brought to life, and Cassie Barrett, I feel as if she was almost too stereortypical of a n abused spouse. I hated that after hiding through her pregnancy, she returned to Alex within weeks of giving birth. I also think she needed a lot of therapy, both to be a good parent and before entering into another romantic relationship, even though Will Flying Horse was amazing.