Tuesday, July 1, 2014
THE ORPHANS OF RACE POINT (PATTY FRANCIS)
HarperCollins|April 28, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-228130-2
Nine-year-old, Hallie Costa is growing up on Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts when a crime shakes their close knit Portugeuese community. Codfish Silva, the captain of the town's most prolific fishing boat has strangled his wife, leaving behind a solitary witness: their son, Gus. The traumatized boy remains mute until the daughter of the local doctor shows up with her version of a cure: two fish Gus is charged with keeping alive, and a copy of David Copperfield. Hallie returns every day to read aloud until Gus is finally coaxed back to speech. Thus begins a lifelong, almost mystical bond that will evolve from childhood friendship to passion, and finally to a deeper love that will ask more of them than they ever imagined.
Hallie and Gus reconnect and fall in love at age sixteen. By then, Gus is a popular student at the regional school thirty miles away, known for his talent as a quarterback, his high spirits, but most of all for the powerful kindness he exudes. Only Hallie understands that beneath his easy smile, lies his guilt over his failure to save his mother and his fear that he will turn out like his father. An incident on prom night seems to confirm those fears as it shatters the future Hallie and Gus have planned. When Gus catches his best friend making an aggressive pass at Hallie after a long night of drinking on the beach, he reacts with violence that will alter their lives in obvious and unseen ways. The friend is badly beaten, but it is Hallie who suffers a life threatening injury when she tries to intervene.
She survives only to discover that during her long recovery, Gus has made a choice that will shock everyone who thinks they know him and devastate the girl who loves him: He has decided to enter the seminary. Hallie is heartbroken, angry, and confused, but after a few months, she rediscovers the resilience that made Gus fall in love with her. She is not a religious believer, but is determined to live a meaningful life and follows her father into medicine, moves away, and eventually marries.
Gus, meanwhile, finds solace in his work and the few friends who are his new family. However, his hard won truce with the past ends, when Ava Cilento appears at the rectory with injuries that are eerily similar to his mother's. But it is the photograph of her daughter, Mila, that really rattles him. When he looks at the little girl, he feels as if he's staring directly into the pain and vulnerability of his own childhood. In an effort to save them from his family's fate, he becomes more personally involved than he should; and when Ava disappears, leaving a horrifically bloody crime scene, Gus is charged with her murder.
Fate brings Hallie and Gus together again; this time at Gus's trial, and it is clear that nothing - not their mutual resolve, nor the thirteen years they've been apart - has changed their passion for each other. Gus is convicted and sentenced to life in prison, while Hallie suffers a different kind of exile; the loss of her marriage and the life she has worked so hard to build. Bereft, she returns to the austere beauty of Cape Cod to take up her father's practice. She writes to Gus many times, but eventually gives up when she receives no reply. It is only after Gus receives a troubling message from Ava's daughter, Mila, that he breaks his silence and contacts Hallie, asking for help. Little does he, or Hallie, realize that Mila holds the key to the truth and to his freedom.
Told in three voice: Hallie's, Gus's and Mila's, THE ORPHANS OF RACE POINT is a novel of suspense, betrayal, and the different ways we find transcendence and meaning in our lives. But most of all, it is a gorgeous and unforgettable love story that spans several decades.
I felt that the above synopsis from the Chapters website could do the review justice much better than I could. This was an unbelievable story and one that I won't soon forget. I couldn't believe how quickly the time was passing as I was reading. I just kept turning page after page after page. I believe THE ORPHANS OF RACE POINT is going to be a big seller.