For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything—until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.
Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance, Esme accepts.
Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she’s run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they’ve been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?
A lovely story told in third person. The narrator tells the story of how Esme suffers a great loss. The loss of a little sister. She didn’t die tragically… she just disappeared. Questions haunted her for years. Her family was never the same. Their lives were consumed with the search efforts. Esme’s dreams of becoming a dancer was put on hold until her dance instructor, Amelia offered to take her under her wing. So she moved in, trained and began to move on.
Until one day, her brother called. “Esme, they found a girl in the basement of a house in NJ matching Lily’s description”…. how can no one know she was there? How can some sick bastard keep a child in the basement! Lily would be 12 now. She would be older than Esme was when Lily first disappeared.
So, was it her? Will life go on? Will her family heal? How long will Esme feel like she has to apologize for everything in her life?
I enjoyed this book. I believe it may have been a more powerful story if told from alternating perspectives. Maybe even alternating Esme, her brother, sister, mother, father or Lily’s perspective?
Even so, the story was wonderfully told. The subject matter is sensitive but the character’s reactions were realistic. The reader won’t believe or be able to imagine how something like this could happen.
Kristin Fields grew up in Queens, which she likes to think of as a small town next to a big city. Fields studied writing at Hofstra University, where she received the Eugene Schneider Fiction Award. After college, Fields found herself working on a historic farm, teaching high school English, and designing museum education programs. She is currently leading an initiative to bring gardens to New York City public schools. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.