Jan Franklin will always remember 1967, it was the year her mother died and left her and her brother Kevin to be brought up by their strict minister father in the small Maine coastal town of Stark Harbor. When Jan gets pregnant, her father is so ashamed that he sends her off to a home for unmarried mothers and doesn't tell anyone where she has gone or why.
Her younger brother thinks she has run away, Tom Croft, the father of her baby doesn't know why she left, he knows nothing of their baby. He punches Jan's father when Bill Franklin won't tell him where Jan is and has a choice of either going to reform school or joining the army. He joins the army. Jan thinks he heard that she was pregnant and has deserted her, so she refuses to return to Stark Harbor and instead lives with her aunt and finishes school there.
Seduced by one of the teachers, she gets pregnant again, but he marries her. Her happiness is short lived, her new husband loses his job for sleeping with a student and he blames Jan for his lot in life, taking everything out on her with his fists.
Years later, Jan, Tom and Kevin return to Stark Harbor and discover some of the secrets that had been harbored there for so may years, secrets that will ultimately end in betrayal and murder…
This a well written novel of small town life, not everything is as calm as it appears on the surface. The characters are well drawn. Some of the issues in the book such as suicide, incest and homosexuality are explored graphically, which may be a bit close to the bone for some, but I think Ms. Barron has done an admirable job at dealing with them. Nothing is hidden under the carpet here with her writing, and I do personally think that the book wouldn't have been as strong without those scenes.
A highly enjoyable read.
reviewed by Annette Gisby, author of Silent Screams.
This report prepared by Annette Gisby