One e-mail message from her biological daughter turns teacher Mariel Rowans life upside down. Fifteen years earlier, 18-year-old Mariel gave up her baby girl for adoption. Her then-boyfriend Noah Lyon insisted on marrying Mariel but she knew they were too young and were unable to give the baby a deserving life.

Having never told her family about the baby, Mariel decides she will travel to Valley Falls, NY and contact Amber Steadman in person. When she arrives however, she is told that Amber is missing. Devastated, Mariel decides to try and locate Noah on the chance that Amber has attempted to contact him as well.

Noah is stunned to hear from Mariel, but quickly drops everything to drive upstate to help in the search for Amber. The police are treating the case like a runaway, but Mariel and Noah are not so sure. They decide to pursue the case on their own. Finding their missing daughter is the only thing that matters.

This latest novel by perennial favorite Janelle Taylor focuses on the wrenching emotions caused by fear for a lost child. While this is a taut read, the relationship between the protagonists never seemed that compelling to me. (May, 352 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith