On the morning of her 11th birthday, young Daria Cato heads down to the shore to walk in the surf. While playing around, she discovers a naked newborn baby. Daria soon realizes that the baby is still alive, so she runs home for help.

The police never identify the woman who gave birth and then dumped the baby on the beach. Being a warm-hearted Catholic family, the Catos quickly make plans to formally adopt the abandoned baby and name her Shelly.

Twenty-two years later, Daria is still taking care of her beloved little sister Shelly. Darias parents are now both deceased and her older sibling Chloe is a nun. Shelly has grown up to be a beautiful, loving and trusting individual who suffers from a mild form of brain damage. Shelly also has a mortal fear of leaving the small ocean town of Kill Devil Hills.

Curious about her birth mother, Shelly suprises her sisters when she writes to Rory Taylor, the producer of the TV show True Life Stories. Shelly knows that Rory is a local boy and old friend of Darias, so she requests that he uncover the truth behind her birth. For Rory, returning to Kill Devil Hills gives him some quality time with his son, and the opportunity to follow up on a mystery that has bothered him since he was a teenageronly most people prefer that the secrets stay hidden.

Exceedingly talented author Diane Chamberlain has a truly masterful way of constructing compelling, multi-layered stories that are rich with drama and emotion. (Feb., 408 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith