Emma’s Secret by Steena Holmes
ISBN: 9781477800669 (paperback)
ASIN: B00BAZ4YBK (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
For two years, Megan, Peter, and their two older daughters, Alexis and Hannah, dream of nothing but being reunited with the family’s youngest child, Emma, who was kidnapped just before her third birthday. When Emma is miraculously found living with an elderly couple just miles from the family’s home, they are hopeful that her return will heal the wounds her disappearance created.
But Emma is vastly different from the sunny toddler they remember. She barely remembers her parents or her older sisters. She is quiet and withdrawn, and, worst of all, longs for the very people who kidnapped her.
Megan is consumed with bitterness, while Peter works later and later nights in the company of his gorgeous business partner. And in the middle of everything, Megan’s best friend has become suddenly distant and secretive.
Then a chance encounter in town leads to a secret that changes everything again for Emma. And Peter must decide between the happiness of his youngest daughter and the trust of his family.
In the first book in this series, Finding Emma, three-year-old Emma was abducted from her neighborhood, if not front yard, two years ago. During her absence, her family literally went through hell. Emma’s oldest sister Hannah felt guilty since she was supposed to have locked the front door. Her other sister, Alexis, has felt lost and forgotten as the proverbial middle child. Emma’s mother had made it her mission in life to search for Emma and bring her safely back home. Emma’s father Peter felt as if his family was slowly disintegrating as they struggled to become a smaller family unit. Fortunately for them all, Emma was found and returned. Now it is time for the family to come back together and try to heal the wounds from the past two years. Is it really possible to move on and completely ignore the past?
I actually enjoyed reading both Finding Emma and Emma’s Secret. There aren’t any true bad guys in this story. The abductor was an older woman with Alzheimer’s disease, Dottie, who mistakenly thought she had found her granddaughter wandering the streets. Dottie’s husband, Jack’s only crime was in loving a child he thought was his grandchild. Now that child has been torn from another loving home, with her much loved Papa, and returned to her mother, father and sisters. Needless to say there are a lot of adjustments that must be made, for everyone. Emma’s mother – Megan, assumes that she can obliterate the past two years from her memory and rejoice in having her youngest daughter home. Unfortunately she also presumes that Emma will be able to erase those two years as well. She doesn’t recognize, or perhaps simply isn’t able to accept and recognize, that her daughter truly loved her surrogate grandparents. This becomes a major bone of contention between Megan and Peter and causes undue hardship for Emma and her reconciliation with her birth family.
I thought both stories were quite realistic, but I’ve got to say that I didn’t particularly care for Megan. In both stories she was more concerned with her feelings and her wants than she was about her husband or children’s feelings, wants or needs. I felt that she was in dire need of help. Regrettably she only goes to therapy a few times and it seems only to complain and receive praise for her feelings and actions. It is because of Megan’s behavior that Peter felt it necessary to go behind her back to ensure Emma’s happiness even if it meant making Megan unhappy. Emma’s Secret is filled with a lot of drama, secrets revealed, and soul-searching. I absolutely adored the children and even felt for Jack and Dottie (Dottie’s story is revealed through journal entries). If you enjoy family-centric stories, then I suggest you grab a copy of both Finding Emma and Emma’s Secret. These are both fast-paced reads and will provide for some wholesome reading pleasure.
Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book free for review purposes via BookSparks PR. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”