Widower Michael Ashton is at his wits end. His six-year-old twin daughters Lily and Rose have driven off yet another nanny. Ever since their mother Angela died last year, the twins have refused to speak to Michael, though they are chatterboxes to the rest of the world.

Historian Joanna Wingate put her life on hold to help her mother nurse her father through his final illness. But following his death, Joanna and her mother Caroline are adrift. Caroline is clinging so tightly that Joanna feels smothered. When a friend suggests that Joanna help out at the Happy Hollow School for the summer, she agrees.

Lily and Rose promised their mother they would say nothing to Michael until she returned, but they are finding it hard to comply. To get advice, the girls question their crystal ball, containing the fortune teller Mariah. When the twins first see Joanna, they believe their mother has finally returned! Joanna is highly disconcerted when they throw themselves at her. Michael is also taken by how much she looks like Angela.

When Sophia De Marcos hears of Joanna, she knows that fate has decided to resurrect the past.

Barbara Freethy does it again! This highly talented author puts her own unforgettable twist on an emotional and complex drama. (May, 384 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith