WHAT I HAD BEFORE I HAD YOU
Cornwell’s debut is a dreamy trip to the past with one foot planted in the present. Readers will enjoy trying to figure out the puzzle of Olivia’s past, while desperately hoping she finds her missing son. This haunting tale of a childhood distorted by trauma, myth and devotion will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page. Cornwell’s novel is a study in forgiveness and learning to let go of the past.
Newly divorced and dealing with her son Daniel’s recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, Olivia decides to take her children for a brief visit to her hometown of Ocean Vista, N.J. She has not been home in more than 20 years and, upon her return, Olivia is flooded by memories of her teen years. When Daniel suddenly disappears, Olivia begins thinking about the last time she was home and the mystery of her twin sisters — sisters her mother insisted were dead, but who Olivia knew in her heart were alive. (HARPER, Jan., 288 pp., $24.99)