Gould's latest novel is somewhat disjointed and distant, just like protagonist Elise Shelton. Readers may find it difficult to empathize with Elise, and may feel a sense of murkiness as the story progresses. Also, it is not always clear where and when scenes take place. The author is a capable writer, but this story often seems unrealistic, especially where Elise's guilt and Pepper's illness are concerned.
Elise Shelton isn't too keen on moving to Forest Falls, Ore., but it's just for a short time now that her husband has retired from the Army. She believes that eventually she will move back to her beloved Seattle and be happy. Elise meets Rebekah Graham at a scrapbooking store and the two form a friendship. When Elise's husband is called back into service and Rebekah's daughter, Pepper, is in dire need of a kidney transplant, the two women are there for each other. (WaterBrook, Oct., 336 pp., $12.99)