Rice returns to the picturesque town of Hubbard's Point, Connecticut, with a lyrical tale. Mara Jameson disappeared from Hubbard's Point nine years ago. She was pregnant, and retired police detective Patrick Murphy has long suspected her husband, Edward Hunter, of foul play.

Now, in Nova Scotia, Lily Malone struggles with her daughter Rose's illness: a congenital heart disease that requires surgery. Her friend, Dr. Liam Neill, arranges a whale-watching trip to celebrate Rose's ninth birthday. On the trip, he observes Nanny, a whale with an unusual connection to Rose.

The author's detailed descriptions bring to life the beauty of Nova Scotia and the richly drawn characters. The suspense surrounding Mara's disappearance is cleverly juxtaposed against the story of Lily and Rose, a young girl whose strength and wisdom provide the emotional backbone of this memorable read. Rice is a gifted author and a major talent. (Jun., 400 pp., $7.50)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick