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(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Olivia Henderson is a thirty-seven year old woman whose husband has recently been killed while he was jogging along a curving road. Olivia and David had been married only a few months, but most happily. They had planned to start a family, although ironically he had gone jogging the morning of the fatal accident because she had sleepily turned him away from love making. The memory of that circumstance haunts her.

After months of depression and guilt, Olivia returns to their little vacation house in Rhode Island where they had been staying when the accident occurred. One day after she has been jogging she comes back to find a young girl, obviously pregnant. Her name is Ruby. She had entered the house to get a drink of water, or perhaps to see what she could steal.

Olivia has a flash of insight that this girl has no place to stay. Perhaps her appearance is somehow a gift from David, bringing a child to Olivia. Ruby is only fifteen, and she has indeed left her family. The baby’s father, Ben, is away for the summer and presumably not interested in marrying Ruby and raising the child.

Olivia takes care of Ruby for the next few months and makes legal arrangements to adopt the baby when it is born. Sometimes Ruby agrees with this plan and sometimes she does not. The novel keeps the suspense to the very end, though all along the way it is clear that things are seldom as simple as anyone might like them to be.

Sources for Further Study

Boston Globe. October 18, 1998, p. K2.

The Christian Science Monitor. September 17, 1998, p. B8.

Library Journal. CXXIII, June 15, 1998, p. 106.

The New York Times Book Review. CIII, November 29, 1998, p. 19.

Publishers Weekly. CCXLV, June 22, 1998, p. 81.

Seventeen. LVII, November, 1998, p. 132.

USA Today. December 10, 1998, p. D6.