As mothers, we never dare to delve into our worst-nightmare scenarios. "What if..." we might murmur to each other, and then shake our heads, telling ourselves it’ll never happen to us if we’re just good enough mothers. Yet here we are. And the steady beep of the heart monitor is the only evidence the child in front of us is alive....
It’s Labor Day weekend, so of course we went to the beach. Like we do every year. For a barbecue picnic with my best friend, Rose. It’s the perfect tradition—drinks, games, burgers, music, laughter. Together with our husbands, my two teenage sons, and her two daughters, we all arrived as the sun was still shimmering over the water, the whole evening ahead of us.
But nothing goes to plan. Old secrets emerge, tempers flare. And so we parents decide to leave the beach, telling the teenagers to enjoy themselves, reassuring them someone will be back to collect them in an hour or two.
But when I return a little while later, I know something is really wrong. Our teens are slurring their words, stumbling to the car. It’s clear they have been drinking, and I’m shocked. I never expected our kids to behave this way. I’m bracing myself to have firm words with them in the morning, but the next day my concerns fade to nothing when 17-year-old Bella claims my son Finn assaulted her.
Finn insists he would never do that. And I so want to believe him. Because I brought my son up right. Because a mother would know, wouldn’t she?
What I don’t know is that the answer to what happened that night on the beach may be a matter of life and death for one of our beloved children....
An absolutely heartbreaking story about friendship, parenting, and betrayal. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Jojo Moyes, and Susan Lewis.