I was introduced to fellow Canadian author, Steena Holmes, when the cover for her book titled, Emma's Secret, drew my attention. Thinking about the type of secret a little girl might carry in her heart - well, let's just say I had to find out for myself.
Megan and Peter are the parents of three daughters - Alexis, Hannah and Emma. Unlike most families, their youngest daughter had been kidnapped a couple of years earlier and, at the point where Emma's Secret begins, they had just gotten her back a few weeks earlier.
The story deals with feelings, situations and actions any parent would face, and be subjected to, in such circumstances. Guilt and fear are a definite pair, followed by the over-protective nature parents develop - which can't be helped because these parents' worst nightmare has already come to pass.
Of course, we can't forget the blame game. It's bad enough when a family member feels guilty - but to feel others are casting blame (perceived or actual) would be even more difficult to endure and this subject is touched on a little in Emma's Secret as one sister hovers, afraid to turn her back for even a few seconds.
Then there are the "what if" and "if only" questions which have great potential to destroy a parent's or sibling's sanity if they can't learn to control their thoughts. Even so, I can only imagine the thoughts and scenarios my mind would conjure in such a position.
Without a doubt, it's better knowing a child is safe at home but, in the case of Emma's family, they went two years without seeing her - wondering if she was dead or alive, whether she was cared for or being tortured. Despite the relief her family felt at having her home again, it's impossible to just switch off the feelings and questions they've carried for so long.
Furthermore, when a child returns home, there are so many dynamics occurring within the home, especially when there are other children involved. Jealousy can easily set in when one child seems to get all of the attention. Depending upon the personalities involved, children might grow to resent the child who has returned home - posing conflict with the potential of dividing a family.
What any parent does not want to embrace, however, is that their child came to love another family as their own - that their child, though at home, longs for the family with whom they've spent the previous two years of their lives.
Of all the stories told in Emma's Secret, I was glued to the relationship between Emma and Jack- the man Emma came to love as her grandfather, the man she was forbidden to see or speak to after being returned to her family.
As a reader, I thanked God for Emma's father, Peter, who was able to look past his own discomfort - putting his daughter's needs above his own - even at the possibility of alienating his wife.
There is so much heartache contained within the pages of Emma's Secret but there is just as much healing taking place in the souls of the various characters I've come to know.
If you would like to learn more about this book or take a glance at the astounding number of reviews, please click the book cover to be taken to its page on Amazon.
A side note: I did not realize that Emma's Secret was actually a continuation of the story told in, Finding Emma. If you prefer to read a story chronologically, you might want to read Finding Emma first.
There are also a couple of novellas in the series which might interest you; I know I am sure to read them: Dear Jack and Dottie's Memories but it's best to read these after reading the two novels.