Life Without Summer
St. Martin’s, Apr 14 2009, $23.95
In a Boston suburb, life had been perfect for Ethan, Tessa and their four years old daughter Abby; until in a second, their child was killed by a hit and run driver near the Bright Futures Preschool she attended. Apparently, there are no witnesses to the vehicular death. After meeting cold aloof homicide detective Caulfield, Tessa concludes the cop will not do any inquiry beyond asking the preschool if anyone witnessed the deadly incident.
Ethan grieves but Tessa is shattered even sleeping in Abby’s bed. Her husband, worried about his wife, persuades her to visit grief therapist Celia, who seems more than just sympathetic; as if they share a commonality. Tessa finds some minor solace using her journalistic skills to investigate her daughter’s murder. She draws up a list of potential suspects.
Celia has married history professor Alden, after her first marriage to Harry fell apart when they discovered a shocker on their sailboat. She moved on, but Harry became a drunk and increasingly depressed teenage son Ian has chosen to live with him. On Tessa’s list near the top is Harry.
This is an intriguing character study that looks deep into the grieving process and the difficulty to obtain personal redemption. The story line uses the investigation as a means for Tessa to try to move on. Journals kept by both women enable the audience to understand what disturbs each of them, making each seem real; although Lynne Griffin conceals critical information from readers that should have appeared in earlier journal entries seems unfair, yet doing this also allows the tension to mount exponentially. Fans will enjoy Celia’s efforts to learn who did it.