Martha's son, Duncan, is the light of her life. After a child is killed at Duncan's school, Martha decides that she must protect him from the world and from the constant, unnamable dangers that plague parents and their children.
Late one night, she kidnaps him and takes him to live in a cave on the Rio Grande, hidden and isolated. When a strange man discovers her hideout, Martha is wary and suspicious. Yet slowly she begins to trust him with her son -- never realizing that the man is a detective sent by her husband to bring her back home. As the fiercely protective mother and the detective fall into a love affair, they move ever closer to a final confrontation, a terrible choice, and the revelation of a devastating secret.
This report prepared by Shari Long
Putnam, Jan 2003, 23.95, 192 pp.
In Ohio, the bomb at their son's school that killed a child traumatized more than just the teachers and elementary school students. Florist Martha Warden, mother of one of the pupils six-year-old son Duncan, could not cope with her feelings she was hopeless to keep her child safe. Her husband David forced Martha to visit a shrink, but that just made the woman feel worse. Finally, although she loves David, three months ago, Martha abducted Duncan and vanished into an isolated cave near the Rio Grande with a sixty-day food supply, candles, and John Denver.
Martha easily adjusts to her new lifestyle consisting of fishing and teaching. However, David has hired a detective to find and bring home Martha. The outsider uses the name of her deceased father and arrives with chocolate candy for Duncan. The detective struggles with his own problems while he tries to gain Martha's trust. He desires her world of peace more than his own fractured torturous mental landscape.
Kathy Hepinstall provides her audience with a deep psychological tale that moves slowly forward, but any faster pace would destroy this astute character study. The key to the tale is Martha who has found haven in an alternate reality that her mind has created so that she can physically and mentally live safely in her new world.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner