Wren and her sisters Evie and Sage live in an isolated cabin in the woods in upstate New York with their mother. Their life is so isolated that they have little to no contact with anyone else and have never experienced modern-day conveniences such as indoor bathrooms or televisions.
When little Evie falls dangerously ill, their mother has no choice but to take her to find medical help. Leaving Wren and Sage to look after the homestead until she returns.
Meanwhile, despite being married heiress Nicolette leads a lonely life. She is convinced that her inability to have a baby is ruining her marriage and pushing her husband Brant into the arms of another woman. Determined to get her life back on track she is driven to uncover the person behind all the hushed phone calls and secret messages that Brant receives.
This book was full of suspense and Minka Kent is really good at keeping tension and letting it simmer until she reveals what is really happening, usually to a not predictable result which is great. Wren and Nicolette seem so different from each other that it’s hard to understand why these two stories are even in the same book, but when you do it is such a satisfying conclusion.
As with many thrillers, this one did have a couple of plot points that wrapped up too easily or conveniently, but they don’t take away from the story.
You’ll enjoy this book if you like suspense thrillers like Layla by Colleen Hoover.
Excerpt from The Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent
I’m in desperate need of a Band-Aid of the marital variety.
But Band-Aids aren’t meant for gashes. They’re meant for little cuts and scrapes, hangnails and paper cuts—things that heal quickly before disappearing altogether. Our marriage is a jagged gash, all the good parts—the parts we need to survive and the parts that make us who we are together—gushing from the wound, and there’s no tourniquet in sight.
I don’t know how to stop the bleeding.
All I know is I have to try . . . because I’m losing him.
“They said we could schedule our home study whenever we want.” I stand over the stove, sautéing garlic and kale in a Le Creuset pan as my husband glances up from his laptop at the kitchen table. “Won’t be long, and we’ll be licensed to foster in the state of New York.”
Brant pushes his wire-frame glasses up the bridge of his straight nose, and I wait for a smile or a confirmation of some sort that this news is pleasing to him, but it never comes.
“They said it could take up to a year to get a placement once we’re approved,” I add, ignoring the guilt that comes in waves every time I sense my husband’s void of excitement. “Or sometimes it happens right away. You just never know.”
His attention returns to his screen, where he’s elbow deep in photography edits for an upcoming exhibit. The Bellhaus Museum of Contemporary Art in Manhattan has chosen to showcase his work for the next four months. Despite the fact that it’s been his lifelong dream to have his work honored and recognized by a world-renowned institution, he’s been nothing but short-fused since we got the news.
I slide the limp kale and browned bits of garlic onto a serving dish with a wooden spoon and wipe my hands on my apron before checking on the roast chicken.
“Can you imagine kids running around in here?” I ask with a slight chuckle.
I’ve imagined it thousands of times before. Maybe more.
That’s what happens when you meet the man of your dreams at twenty-two, marry him, postpone starting a family so you can travel the world by his side as he photographs the most beautiful things this earth has to offer, and then find your consciousness fading as you lie on an operating table for an emergency hysterectomy at the age of twenty-five.
“I don’t need anyone but you, Nic. Never have, never will,” Brant had told me as they wheeled me back that morning. He held my hand in his and pressed his lips against my fingers, his eyes resting on mine until my body was awash in warmth and his reassurance. It’s the only thing I truly remember about that day. The rest is blurred and faded, washed away by years of trying to forget having a piece of my God-given womanhood ripped away without warning, without choice. Turns out removing the ability to have babies does nothing to quell maternal urges. If anything, it only makes them less deniable, although the dream is that much more out of reach, placed on the top shelf with no stepladder in sight.
And speaking of dreams, I had another one of those baby dreams last night—the ones where I’m pushing a stroller around a park on a beautiful fall day, only when I glance down, I find my stroller empty.
It’s always empty.