hurt people hurt people

I was reading this book at work, and I had to apologize to my boss one day. I clocked back in from lunch late because my mouth was hanging open at just one of the twists in Maggie James' His Kidnapper's Shoes. 

Twenty-six-year-old Daniel has always had the feeling like he didn't belong in his family. A doctor friend of his notices that his eye color is a genetic anomaly compared to his parents' eye colors, so he decides to take a DNA test. When he gets the results back, with proof that his mother is not his mother, his world crashes in on him. Is it possible that he was kidnapped as a child? Who would do such a thing, and why? And how does he go on?

Laura Bateman has stopped speaking. Her son has discovered that she isn't his real mother, that she took him from his home when he was only 4. After everything that has happened to her, all that pain of her childhood taking care of her alcoholic mother and then her grandmother in her fight against cancer, to become pregnant as a teenager and then to be raped by a foster father, to lose her mother and then grandmother and then son--it's a lot for her process. And in order to process, she has stopped speaking. She has locked herself up and tells her story only to us. 

What causes someone to do something unthinkable? And once it's done, how do those affected move forward? Is it possible to make a life when your child has been taken from his bed, when you find out you're not who you thought you were, when all your secrets are revealed? Is forgiveness possible, or even healing? 

This novel jumps around in time and from character to character, so you watch the two main characters' stories unfold as they want them to, in their own words. And while it's clearly not an easy novel to read, it does make for a fascinating study of the lies we tell, the reasons for them, and the damage they do. 

 

Galleys for His Kidnapper's Shoes provided by the publisher through NetGalley.com.