Rea Frey is a gripping and emotional story that explores what makes a family and what it truly means to be a parent.
Sarah Walker is still reeling from a breakup with her longtime boyfriend, Ethan, but gets through everyday by drowning herself in work. She still can't figure out why after years of dating, that she wasn't the one for Ethan. Why didn't he love her enough? Why didn't he propose? It's a bit of an obsession for Sarah. As a child, Sarah had a mother who didn't seem to love her or her father, and who eventually abandoned the family. It's something Sarah has never gotten over.
A chance encounter with a stressed out family, and their five-year-old daughter, offers Sarah an opportunity at redemption.
Emma Townsend is lonely and afraid. She's afraid of her mother, Amy. Nothing Emma does is ever right. Anything can set off her mother. If Emma doesn't move fast enough, Amy will yell at her. If Emma doesn't respond fast enough, Amy will yell at her. Her father is no help. Can anyone help?
Sarah thinks it's her duty to help Emma. After spotting the little girl at an airport with her family, Sarah is convinced that Emma is an abused child. A few minutes standing in an airport security line, and Sarah is convinced that it's her responsibility to rescue Emma. But what can Sarah do? She's not family. She has no authority to intervene. And more importantly she has no proof there's anything wrong with the Townsend family. There's nothing Sarah can do at the airport, as they both go their separate ways. But when their paths cross again, Sarah makes it her mission to find out what is wrong with Emma and her family. An opportunity to rescue Emma presents itself, and Sarah has a tough decision to make. Let Emma stay with her family or take her away from her family. She chooses to take Emma. She chooses to kidnap Emma. She chooses to commit a crime rather than take Emma to the police or child protective services.
The book alternates between Sarah and Amy's perspectives. I found myself sympathizing with both women. If I could help someone I believe to be in danger, yes I would help in anyway I could. Anyway I legally could. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this book. But if this were real life, I would be screaming at Sarah for being SO STUPID!! I don't understand people who thinks it's their job to butt into someone else's life without knowing all of the facts. Because I think Sarah didn't have all of the facts. Without even reading Amy's perspective, I immediately thought yes she's a bad parent, a borderline abusive parent. But kidnapping a child is not the answer. Amy seemed like a woman who let the responsibilities of parenthood overwhelm her. She never wanted to be a parent, but she also never took time for herself once she became one. She took out her frustration on her children, especially Emma.
This book definitely has a compulsive quality to it. Last week, I was about 150 pages in and at the end of each chapter I kept saying to myself just one more chapter, just one more chapter. Well I kept doing that until I finished the book. Sarah's on the run with Emma, and I wanted to see how many close calls could she get out of. On one hand I don't want her to caught, but on the other I do for committing such a stupid crime. The ending was both satisfying and frustrating. Read the book to know what I'm talking about! Trust me this is a book and an author to put on your radar!
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Macmillan) in exchange for an honest review.