For five years Pearl has managed to keep the past from catching up to her and her bright, frail five-year-old son. Life has given her every reason to mistrust people, but circumstances force her to trust her neighbor Mitch with watching Leonard while she goes off to work. Then one day Pearl drops her son off…and never returns.
They are an unlikely pair: Mitch is a young, unattached business owner, and Leonard is a precocious, five-year-old boy. But together they must find a way to move forward in the wake of Pearl’s unexplained disappearance. Their bond as parent and child shifts and endures, even as Mitch must eventually surrender Leonard to a two-parent home.
Is it possible to love the people who can’t always be there for us? The answers will surprise and move you. As their lives unfold, profound questions emerge about the nature of love and family. Ultimately, this novel’s richest reward is watching Mitch and Leonard grow up together, through the power and the magic of the human heart.
Reviewers praise Catherine Ryan Hyde:
“[Hyde’s] talent for portraying human emotions…she not only tugs at heartstrings but also deftly plays them while building to a poignant crescendo. [Hyde is] a perceptive and gentle-hearted writer.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Hyde is a remarkable, insightful storyteller, creating full-bodied characters whose dialogue rings true, with not a word to spare.” —Library Journal

“Brutally lyrical…Hyde movingly conveys the toll of years of emotional damage.” —Publishers Weekly

“Hyde is a magnificent storyteller, an expert at plot and pacing and voice…[Hyde] is worth reading again and again and again.” —Denver Post

Brilliantly wrought, finely plotted…Every scene is sketched with beautiful brevity…Every vista takes your breath away.” —Small Press

“Haunting.” —Washington Post Book World


“A sweet and honest look at the pains and pleasures of love, and who could not fall in love with Leonard—what a beautifully drawn character.” —Jane Green, bestselling author of Jemima J