Ella Varner learns about her sister’s pregnancy when she receives a call from their mother that Tara has left her week-old baby boy with her and taken off. Their mother is unwilling to admit to being a grandmother, let alone take care of the infant, so Ella is expected to drop everything in her own life (including her longtime boyfriend who has made it clear he never wants children) to pick up the pieces. Their family history is full of abandonment, negligence, narcissism, and abuse, and their relationship is a toxic one. Ella sums it up by saying,
“I didn’t think I would have survived my childhood without my sister, or she without me. We were each other’s only link to the past…that was the strength of our bond, and also our weakness.”
This story was a real pleasure to read. The evolution of their relationship was a slow one, which made it believable. Jack recognized the roadblocks that Ella put up and hid behind to protect herself, and he was patient and determined to break them down after gaining her trust. Their banter was smart and funny, even when they were having an argument they could smile at each other. There were great moments thrown in that made me laugh.
“You are so full of yourself…and you would not be good for me, with your steaks and power tools and your attention-deficit libido, and…I’ll bet you’re a card-carrying member of the NRA. Admit it, you are.”