Never Knowing

3.85 avg rating
( 18,491 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780751545685: Never Knowing

At thirty-four Sara Gallagher is finally happy with her life, but there is one big question that still haunts her - who are her birth parents? Finally ready to hear the truth, Sara discovers that some questions are better left unanswered: her biological father is an infamous serial killer, a wanted man who has been slaying women every summer for over thirty years.And now he knows he has a daughter.Sara soon realises that the only thing worse than finding out your real father is a killer, is him finding out about you...

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

CHEVY STEVENS grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still lives on the island with her husband and daughter. When she's not working on her next book, she's camping and canoeing with her family in the local mountains. Her debut novel, Still Missing, won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. Visit Chevy at www.chevystevens.com

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

NEVER KNOWING (Chapter One)

SESSION ONE

I thought I could handle it, Nadine. After all those years of seeing you, all those times I talked about whether I should look for my birth mother, I finally did it. I took that step. You were a part of it—I wanted to show you what an impact you had on my life, how much I’ve grown, how stable I am now, how balanced. That’s what you always told me, “Balance is the key.” But I forgot the other thing you used to say: “Slowly, Sara.”

I’ve missed this, being here. Remember how uncomfortable I was when I first started seeing you? Especially when I told you why I needed help. But you were down-to-earth and funny—not at all how I imagined a psychiatrist would be. This office was so bright and pretty that, no matter what I was worried about, as soon as I walked in here felt better. Some days, especially in the beginning, I didn’t want to leave.

You told me once that when you didn’t hear from me you knew things were going well, that when I stopped coming altogether you’d know you did your job. And you did. The last couple of years have been the happiest of my life. That’s why I thought it was the right time. I thought I could withstand anything that came my way. I was solid, grounded. Nothing could send me back to the nervous wreck I was when I first met you.

Then she lied to me—my birth mother—when I finally forced her to talk to me. She lied about my real father. It felt like when Ally used to kick my ribs when I was pregnant with her—a sudden blow from the inside that left me breathless. But it was my birth mother’s fear that got me the most. She was afraid of me. I’m sure of it. What I don’t know is why.

*   *   *

It started about six weeks ago, around the end of December, with an online article. I was up stupidly early this one Sunday—no need for a rooster when you have a six-year-old—and while I inhaled my first coffee I answered e-mails. I get requests to restore furniture from all over the island now. That morning I was trying to research a desk from the 1920s, when I wasn’t laughing at Ally. She was supposed to be watching cartoons downstairs, but I could hear her scolding Moose, our brindle French bulldog, for molesting her stuffed rabbit. Suffice it to say, Moose has a weaning issue. No tail’s safe.

Then somehow or another I got this pop-up advertising Viagra, which I finally got closed, only to accidentally click on this other link and find myself staring at a headline:

Adoption: The Other Side of the Story

I scrolled through letters people had sent in response to a Globe and Mail piece, read stories of birth parents who’ve been trying to find their children for years, birth parents who didn’t want to be found. Adopted children growing up feeling they never belonged. Tragic tales of doors slammed in faces. Joyful stories of mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters reuniting and living happily ever after.

My head started to pound. What if I found my mother? Would we instantly connect? What if she wanted nothing to do with me? What if I found out she was dead? What if I had siblings who never knew about me?

I didn’t realize Evan was up until he kissed the back of my neck and made a grunting noise—a sound we picked up from Moose and now use to signal everything from I’m pissed off to You’re hot!

I closed down the screen and spun my chair around. Evan raised his eyebrows and smiled.

“Talking to your online boyfriend again?”

I smiled back. “Which one?”

Evan clutched at his chest, collapsed into his office chair, and sighed.

“Sure hope he has lots of clothes.”

I laughed. I was forever raiding Evan’s shirts, especially if he had to stay with a group at his wilderness lodge in Tofino—three hours from our house in Nanaimo and right smack on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Those weeks I often wore his shirts around the clock. I’d get caught up working on a new piece of furniture, and by the time he was home the shirt would be covered in stains and I’d be exchanging all sorts of favors for his forgiveness.

“Sorry to break it to you, honey, but you’re the only man for me—no one else would put up with my craziness.” I rested my foot on his lap. With his sable hair spiked in all directions and his usual outfit of cargo pants and polo shirt, he looked like a college student. A lot of people don’t realize Evan actually owns the lodge.

He smiled. “Oh, I’m sure there’s a doctor somewhere with a straitjacket who’d think you’re cute.”

I pretended to kick at him, then said, “I was reading an article,” as I started to massage the throbbing pain on the left side of my head.

“Getting a migraine, baby?”

I dropped my hand down to my lap. “Just a little one, it’ll go away.”

He gave me a look.

“Okay, I forgot my pill yesterday.” After years of trying various medications I was now on beta blockers and my migraines were finally under control. The trick was remembering to take them.

He shook his head. “So what was the article about?”

“Ontario’s opening up their adoption records, and...” I groaned as Evan worked a pressure point on my foot. “There were all these letters from people who were adopted or who gave up their children.” Downstairs, Ally’s giggle rang out.

“Thinking about finding your birth mother?”

“Not exactly, it was just interesting.” But I was thinking about finding her. I just wasn’t sure if I was ready. I’ve always known I was adopted, but I didn’t realize that meant I was different until Mom sat me down and told me they were having a baby. I was four at the time. As Mom grew bigger and Dad prouder, I started worrying they were going to give me back. I didn’t know just how different I was until I saw the way my father looked at Lauren when they brought her home, then the way he looked at me when I asked to hold her. They had Melanie two years later. He didn’t let me hold her either.

Evan, willing to drop things long before me, nodded.

“What time do you want to leave for brunch?”

“A quarter past never.” I sighed. “Thank God Lauren and Greg are coming, because Melanie’s bringing Kyle.”

“Brave of her.” As much as my father loves Evan—they’d probably spend the entire brunch planning their next fishing trip—he despises Kyle. I can’t say I blame him. Kyle’s a wannabe rock star, but as far as I’m concerned the only thing he’s playing is my sister. Dad always hated our boyfriends, though. I’m still shocked he likes Evan. All it took was one trip to the lodge and he was talking about him like he was the son he never had. He’s still bragging about the salmon they caught.

“It’s like she thinks if they’re around each other more Dad will see all his good qualities.” I snorted.

“Be nice, Melanie loves him.”

I gave a mock shudder. “Last week she told me I better start working on my tan if I didn’t want to be the same color as my dress. Our wedding’s nine months away!”

“She’s just jealous—you can’t take it personally.”

“It sure feels personal.”

Ally came barreling into the room with Moose in fast pursuit and threw herself into my arms.

“Mommy, Moose ate all my cereal!”

“Did you leave the bowl on the floor again, silly?”

She giggled against my neck and I inhaled her fresh scent as her hair tickled my nose. With her dark coloring and compact body, Ally looks more like Evan than me even though he’s not her biological father, but she has my green eyes—cat’s eyes, Evan calls them. And she got my curls, though at thirty-three mine have relaxed while Ally’s are still tight ringlets.

Evan stood up and clapped his hands.

“Okay, family, time to get dressed.”

*   *   *

A week later, just after New Year’s, Evan headed back to his lodge for a few days. I’d read a few more adoption stories online, and the night before he left I told him I was considering looking for my birth mother while he was gone.

“Are you sure it’s a good idea right now? You have so much going on with the wedding.”

“But that’s part of it—we’re getting married and for all I know I was dropped here from outer space.”

“You know, that might explain a few things....”

“Ha, ha, very funny.”

He smiled, then said, “Seriously, Sara, how are you going to feel if you can’t find her? Or if she doesn’t want to see you?”

How was I going to feel? I pushed the thought to the side and shrugged.

“I’ll just have to accept it. Things don’t get to me like they used to. But I really feel like I need to do this—especially if we’re going to have kids.” The entire time I was pregnant with Ally I was afraid of what I might be passing on to her. Thankfully she’s healthy, but whenever Evan and I talk about having a child the fear starts up again.

I said, “I’m more worried about upsetting Mom and Dad.”

“You don’t have to tell them—it’s your life. But I still don’t think it’s the best timing.”

Maybe he was right. It was stressful enough trying to take care of Ally and run my business, let alone plan a wedding.

“I’ll think about putting it off, okay?”

Evan smiled. “Riiight. I know you, baby—once your mind is made up you’re full speed ahead.”

I laughed. “I promise.”

*   *   *

I did think about waiting, especially when I imagined my mom’s face if she found out. Mom used to say being adopted meant I was special because they chose me. When I was twelve Melanie gave me her version. She said our parents adopted me because Mom couldn’t have babies, but they didn’t need me now. Mom found me in my room packing my clothes. When I told her I was going to find my “real” parents she started crying, then she said, “Your birth parents couldn’t take care of you properly, but they wanted you to have the best home possible. So now we take care of you and we love you very much.” I never forgot the hurt in her eyes, or how thin her body felt as she hugged me.

The next time I seriously thought about looking for my birth parents was when I graduated, then when I found out I was pregnant, and then seven months later when I held Ally for the first time. But I’d put myself in Mom’s shoes and imagine what it would feel like if my child wanted to find her birth mother, how hurt and scared I’d be, and I could never go through with it. I might not have this time either, if Dad hadn’t phoned to ask Evan to go fishing.

“Sorry, Dad, he just left yesterday. Maybe you can take Greg?”

“Greg talks too much.” I felt bad for Lauren’s husband. Where Dad despised Kyle, he had no use for Greg. I’d seen him walk away when Greg was in midsentence.

“Are you guys going to be home for a while? I was just going to get Ally from school and come by for a visit.”

“Not today. Your mom’s trying to rest.”

“Is her Crohn’s flaring up again?”

“She’s just tired.”

“Okay, no problem. If you need help with anything, let me know.”

*   *   *

Throughout our lives Mom’s health had been up and down. For weeks she’d be doing fine, painting our rooms, sewing curtains, baking up a storm. Even Dad was almost happy during those times. I remember him lifting me onto his shoulders once, the view as heady as the rare attention. But Mom would always end up doing too much and within days she was sick again. She’d fade before our eyes as her body refused to hang on to any nutrients, even baby food sending her rushing for the bathroom.

When she was going through a bad spell Dad would come home and ask what I’d been doing all day, like he was trying to find something, or someone, to be pissed at. When I was nine he found me in front of the TV while Mom was sleeping. He dragged me to the kitchen by my wrist and pointed to the stack of dishes, calling me a lazy, ungrateful child. The next day it was the pile of laundry that set him off, and the next, Melanie’s toys in the driveway. His big workingman’s body would loom over me and his voice would vibrate with anger, but he never yelled, never did anything Mom could see or hear. He’d take me out to the garage and list my shortcomings while I stared at his feet, terrified he was going to say he didn’t want me anymore. Then he’d barely speak to me for a week.

I started doing the household chores before Mom could get to them, staying home when my sisters were out with friends, cooking dinners that never got my father’s approval but at least didn’t earn his silence. I would do anything to avoid silence, anything to keep Mom from getting sick again. If she was healthy, I was safe.

*   *   *

When I phoned Lauren that night she told me she and the boys had just gotten home from dinner with our parents. Dad had invited them.

“So it was just my kid who wasn’t allowed over.”

“I’m sure it wasn’t like that. Ally just has so much energy, and—”

“What does that mean?”

“It doesn’t mean anything, she’s adorable. But Dad probably thought three kids were too much.” I knew Lauren was just trying to make me feel better before I went on a rant against Dad, which she hates, but it drives me nuts that she can never see how differently Dad treats me, or at least never acknowledges it. After we hung up I almost called Mom to check on her, but then I thought about Dad telling me to stay home, like a stray dog who’s only allowed to sleep on the porch because she might mess in the house. I put the phone back on the charger.

*   *   *

The next day I filled out the form at Vital Statistics, paid my $50, and started waiting. I’d like to say patiently, but I practically tackled the mailman after the first week. A month later my Original Birth Registration, or OBR, as the woman at Vital Statistics called it, arrived in the mail. I stared at the envelope and realized my hand was shaking. Evan was at his lodge again and I wished he could be there when I opened it, but that was another week. Ally was at school and the house was quiet. I took a deep breath and ripped open the envelope.

My real mother’s name was Julia Laroche and I was born in Victoria, BC. My father was listed as unknown. I read the OBR and the adoption certificate over and over, looking for answers, but I just kept hearing one question: Why did you give me away?

*   *   *

The next morning I woke early and went online while Ally was still sleeping. The first thing I checked was the Adoption Reunion Registry, but when I realized it could take another month to get an answer, I decided to look on my own first. After searching Web sites for twenty minutes, I found three Julia Laroches in Quebec and four down in the States who seemed around the right age. Only two lived on the island, but when I saw they were both in Victoria my stomach flipped. Could she still be there after all this time? I quickly clicked on the first link, and let my breath out when I realized she was too young, judging by her article on a new mom’s forum. The second link took me to a Web site for a real estate agent in Victoria. She had auburn hair like me and looked about the right age. I studied her face with a mixture of excitement and...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Buy New View Book
List Price: US$ 15.75
US$ 10.73

Convert Currency

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.

Destination, Rates & Speeds

Add to Basket

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Chevy Stevens
Published by Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom (2011)
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. At thirty-four Sara Gallagher is finally happy with her life, but there is one big question that still haunts her - who are her birth parents? Finally ready to hear the truth, Sara discovers that some questions are better left unanswered: her biological father is an infamous serial killer, a wanted man who has been slaying women every summer for over thirty years.And now he knows he has a daughter.Sara soon realises that the only thing worse than finding out your real father is a killer, is him finding out about you. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780751545685

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 10.73
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Chevy Stevens
Published by Sphere
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Sphere. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Bookseller Inventory # B9780751545685

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 1.56
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.19
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Chevy Stevens
Published by Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom (2011)
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, United Kingdom, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. At thirty-four Sara Gallagher is finally happy with her life, but there is one big question that still haunts her - who are her birth parents? Finally ready to hear the truth, Sara discovers that some questions are better left unanswered: her biological father is an infamous serial killer, a wanted man who has been slaying women every summer for over thirty years.And now he knows he has a daughter.Sara soon realises that the only thing worse than finding out your real father is a killer, is him finding out about you. Bookseller Inventory # AA29780751545685

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 10.83
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Chevy Stevens
Published by Sphere 2011-12-08 (2011)
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Chiron Media
(Wallingford, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Sphere 2011-12-08, 2011. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-LBR-00993657

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.95
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.96
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Stevens, Chevy
Published by Sphere (2011)
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Rating
[?]

Book Description Sphere, 2011. Book Condition: New. What if murder was in your blood? Num Pages: 496 pages. BIC Classification: FH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 127 x 32. Weight in Grams: 338. . 2011. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # 9780751545685

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 15.89
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From Ireland to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Stevens, Chevy
Published by Sphere
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Kennys Bookstore
(Olney, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Sphere. Book Condition: New. What if murder was in your blood? Num Pages: 496 pages. BIC Classification: FH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 127 x 32. Weight in Grams: 338. . 2011. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # 9780751545685

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 16.08
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Stevens Chevy
Published by Little, Brown and Company
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Majestic Books
(London, ,, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Little, Brown and Company. Book Condition: New. pp. 496. Bookseller Inventory # 11302809

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 10.43
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.28
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Chevy Stevens
Published by Sphere (2011)
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ria Christie Collections
(Uxbridge, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Sphere, 2011. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780751545685_rkm

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 12.86
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 5.13
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Chevy Stevens
Published by Little, Brown 2011-12-08, London (2011)
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Blackwell's
(Oxford, OX, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Little, Brown 2011-12-08, London, 2011. paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 9780751545685

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 11.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.95
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Stevens, Chevy
Published by Little, Brown Book Group (2011)
ISBN 10: 0751545686 ISBN 13: 9780751545685
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Little, Brown Book Group, 2011. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # GB-9780751545685

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.03
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.92
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book