History professor Lindsey Page has a quiet, well-ordered life, but it’s about to get complicated. Her daughter, with whom she has a troubled relationship, shows up on her doorstep. The immigrant woman Lindsey is interviewing for a book asks her for help in reclaiming the son taken from her during a massacre in her Salvadoran village. And her closest friends, from college days at Berkeley, where they witnessed the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, are hiding secrets that will forever change those friendships. Lindsey must grapple with questions of family identity, truth in wartime, the ethics of power for robber barons and the law of unforeseen consequences. Moving back and forth from the 1970s to the present, from the Bay Area to El Salvador, this sprawling saga follows Lindsey, her friends, and family through tumultuous political, social, and cultural changes and choices.
This thoughtful suspense novel from Dawson (Bit Player and nine other titles in her Jeri Howard PI series) concerns families, secrets, and the human cost of coffee from El Salvador. San Francisco academic, single mother, and author Lindsey Page reluctantly agrees to help her research subject, Flor Cooper, look for her long-lost son. Flor believes her baby son, Efra n, was among the few survivors of a massacre in their El Salvador village of coffee-estate workers in 1989 and that she has seen Efra n, now grown and resembling her late husband, at the Berkeley Farmers Market. Meanwhile, a college friend of Lindsey's, Annabel, is recovering from a stroke in the midst of a power play at Annabel's family business, a coffee importer. The return home of Lindsey's semi-estranged daughter, Nina, further complicates matters. Dawson weaves together multiple time lines and character viewpoints with only a few contrivances as she conveys the message that "the price of coffee shouldn't include death."