The death of Dr. Mara O’Neill takes everyone by surprise. No one understands why this beloved physician would take her own life –or how her friends and colleagues could have missed her desperate state.
Dr. Paige Pfeiffer is the first to have to cope with the rippling effects of her best friend’s death. Upon the unexpected arrival of the baby her colleague had been in the process of adopting from India, she impulsively volunteers her services as an emergency foster mother. Her life is further complicated by Noah Perrine, headmaster of the boarding school where she serves as a track coach. Just as her attempts to understand what happened to Mara lead to an agonizing realization of the limits of friendship, her growing feelings for Noah finally give her the courage to open her heart to the possibilities of both marital and maternal love.
Suddenly is a perfect title for this book. I can say that in all modesty, because I didn’t come up with it. My editor at the time of the book’s first publication (1994) did, and how insightful she was. Suddenly introduces what has gone on to become a favorite theme of mine – the idea that a single moment or event can forever change a life. In Family Tree, it was the birth of a baby that looked very different from her parents. In The Secret Between Us, it was an automobile accident in the rain. In my work-in-progress, Sweet Salt Air, it is something that happened ten years before the opening of the book.
I’ve been a psychologist since I was a child, always wanting to understand why people do what they do. My own title for Suddenly was actually Mara’s Story, because I was determined to understand why Mara O’Neill died so young. Suddenly is a larger title, I think.
This book has other trademarks of my recent work – a beautiful New England setting, a baby that will steal your heart, a kitten that will do the same, a gaggle of precocious teenagers, and a love story that’ll get your pulse to racing. If you find anachronisms here, that’s what makes Suddenly truly vintage. Like a wine pulled from the cellar and uncorked for the first time in years, it’s a special book. Enjoy!