Friends since childhood, Annie, Jake and Mason had a special bond that transcended all other relationships. When Annie's parents die on her and Mason's wedding night, the three friends decide to raise Annie's infant sister, Opal, together. Entangled relationships ensue between them and Annie struggles to be both a sister and a mother to Opal. And then, on one fateful night, the friends step over a line that has shocking, unforeseen consequences. Beautifully written and brilliantly vivid, this truth-telling and engaging novel of friendship, love and death and -- ultimately -- of resilience and understanding, will resonate long after each character tells their story.
The troubles specific to triangular relationships are explored with depth and substance in Hegi's complex and affecting latest. Annie, Jake and Mason friends practically from the womb have developed a fraught dynamic sharply affected by competitiveness, attraction and jealousy. The book's opening trauma Mason's suicide serves as a springboard for Hegi to delve into the friends' tangled past: Mason and Annie get married the same night Annie's father and very pregnant mother die in a car wreck. The baby, Opal, survives, and the three friends raise her. But festering attractions Mason to Jake; Jake to Annie lead Mason to cross a line, Annie to want out of the marriage and Jake to fail to act at a pivotal moment. Woven into the mix is the post-WWII story of Annie's immigrant mother, Lotte, and her friend Mechthild, who came to America from Germany to work as au pairs and pretended to be Dutch to avoid persecution. Though a bumper crop of tragedy weighs heavily on this controlled and articulate novel, Hegi (Sacred Time) is an accomplished storyteller; she inhabits different characters and blends the past with the present to tell a rich story of love, death, loyalty and survival.