As I was watching the movie The Parent Trap recently, I realized this book is a lot like it, albeit in a tragic rather than comedic sense. Twins bring their parents back together, but with more disastrous circumstances.
Daisy Tucker’s daughter, Sage, has run away. Daisy and Sage live in Connecticut. Daisy’s ex-husband James lives in Wyoming, a place Daisy and Sage haven’t been back to since the disappearance of Sage’s twin brother Jake, who is presumed dead. This tragedy has haunted the entire Tucker family. James won’t leave the ranch in case Jake wanders out of the woods someday; Daisy can’t go back to Wyoming because of the memories, and she won’t let Sage travel out there alone. That actually becomes a moot point when Sage runs away to her father. Daisy has to deal with another child gone missing as well as her old ghosts.
Daisy is a rather stoic person. She’s had no contact with James and the most important things in her life are her daughter and her jewelry. The jewelry she makes is almost spiritual. She carves bone, decorates it, and fashions her artwork into Native American spiritual symbols that run throughout the story, tying together various threads. Daisy confides in her sister but really has no one else. She’s cut herself off emotionally from everyone but her daughter and sister.
James is haunted. He left his son sitting on a rock just before Jake disappeared, and James feels responsible. That’s the main reason he’s also cut himself off from the rest of the world, with the exception of his father and his father’s girlfriend, both of whom live on the ranch.
Sage feels all alone. She’s sixteen, pregnant, and wants to know her father, so she travels cross-country to get to him. Her family is the most important thing to her. She gets in trouble during her travels and is rescued by a boy named David, whose course in life is protecting strays. He adds Sage to his collection of wayward dogs.
There’s an unsolved mystery surrounding Jake that has to be resolved to bring everything full circle. There’s also a bit of a suspense plot here, as well. It’s not too hard to figure out, but watch for red herrings. The truth behind Jake’s disappearance isn’t logical and a bit hard to swallow.
Author Rice imbues her writing with enough emotion that the reader feels what each of the characters is going through. The love and hurt between all members of the Tucker family is obvious and touching.
This book surprised me. I got the melancholy I expect from Rice, but the ending was lighter in tone than I expected. While at times predictible and at others illogical, it’s a good story overall. This one gets a qualified recommendation.