So begins Laurie Albanese's haunting debut novel about the shattering impact of a child's kidnapping on two women-and two families.
Grief-stricken after the death of her infant daughter, Lynelle Carter leaves her husband and their working-class life in New Jersey and returns home to Florida. As she wanders the beaches of Singing Island, she sees an infant in a stroller, alone under a tree...
Annie Thompson is in Florida with her husband and three children. In the blink of an eye, it happens: One moment three-month-old Dylan is there; the next, he is gone. Without her son, Annie cannot imagine how she will go on.
Alternating between the voices of the two main characters, Lynelle by the Sea probes the depths of primal love in a story of family, faith, motherhood and marriage ... and of lives transformed by tragedy and redemption.
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Laurie Lico Albanese is an editor and writer whose poems, short stories, and journalism have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Mothering magazine, among other publications. Lynelle by the Sea is her first novel.From Publishers Weekly:
The plot of Albanese's debut novel may remind readers of Jacquelyn Mitchard's The Deep End of the Ocean, but Albanese blazes her own path through the familiar landscape of motherhood. Chapters alternate between the working-class vernacular of Lynelle Carter's earnest narration and the more distancing third-person portrayal of Annie Thompson's hectic family life. Lynelle, happily married to humble airport worker Hogan, loses her newborn baby to SIDS and descends into unassuageable grief. Her bereavement awakens memories of losing her beloved mother as a young girl, so she leaves Hogan and her New Jersey town to seek solitude and solace in her childhood home in Florida. Meanwhile, immersed in the frazzle and drudgery of child care for her three young offspring, Annie struggles to complete a graduate degree in social work, volunteer at a battered women's shelter and be a good wife to David. David callously dismisses his wife's work and dreams, as he dismissed her ambivalence about being pregnant with her unexpected third child, Dylan, now three months old. When Annie's father has a minor stroke, the Thompsons leave Illinois for Florida to help Annie's mother. Annie's and Lynelle's lives intersect when a distracted Annie leaves Dylan in his nine-year-old brother's care for a minute in a crowded crafts fair. Lynelle finds Dylan alone in the stroller and, in a moment of madness, kidnaps the baby. The ensuing nightmare for Annie and her family is contrasted with Lynelle's psychotic, dreamlike state during the baby's captivityAwhich, though short-lived, becomes an intense, life-changing drama for all involved. The denouement is resonant and charged with feeling, as Annie's newfound strength infuses her pain with compassion. The book slips into sentimentality at its epilogue, but for the most part it offers a resonant and complex portrayal of Annie and Lynelle coping with motherhood, loss and forgiveness. Agent, Angela Miller. BOMC alternate. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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