the vein of Meg Donohue and Jennifer Close, comes Cecilia Galante’s adult debut
about the complicated and powerful bonds of female friendship–a compelling,
moving novel that is told in both the present and the past.
teenagers at Turning Winds Home for Girls, Nora, Ozzie, Monica, and Grace quickly
bond over their troubled pasts and form their own family which they dub The
Invisibles. But when tragedy strikes after graduation, Nora is left to deal
with the horrifying aftermath alone as the other three girls leave home and
don’t look back.
a quiet, single life working in the local library. She is content to focus on
her collection of “first lines” (her favorite opening lines from
novels) and her dog, Alice Walker, when out-of-the-blue Ozzie calls her on her
thirty-second birthday. But after all these years, Ozzie hasn’t called her to
wish a happy birthday. Instead, she tells Nora that Grace attempted suicide and
is pleading for The Invisibles to convene again. Nora is torn: she is thrilled
at the thought of being in touch with her friends, and yet she is hesitant at
seeing these women after such a long and silent period of time. Bolstered by
her friends at the library, Nora joins The Invisibles in Chicago for a reunion
that sets off an extraordinary chain of events that will change each of their
novel that asks the questions: How much of our pasts define our present selves?
And what does it take to let go of some of our most painful wounds and move on?
She could hear the phone ringing in her bedroom as she unlocked her front door. Alice Walker bolted toward it, barking after each ring, as if the phone might respond. Nora hung back, struggling to get her key out of the lock, which still continued to stick, despite numerous complaints to the landlord. She tugged again. Nothing. Well, she’d have to let the machine get it. It was probably just Trudy or Marion from the library anyway, calling to ask her to pick up some more coffee beans on her way in. Between the three of them, the office coffeepot went through at least four refills a day.
“Hey, this is Nora.” The recorded sound of her voice echoed through the empty apartment. “I’m not here, but I will be eventually, so please leave a message.” Nora winced, listening. She’d gone through at least a dozen messages when she’d set up the machine, trying her voice out each time—a little happier here, more serious there—until she’d just said to hell with it and settled on this one.
There was a pause and then:
Nora’s fingers froze around the rubber grip of the keys. No one had called her Norster since she was seventeen years old. And even then, there had been only one person who had ever used that name.
A throat cleared. Then: “Nora Walker? Is this you? God, I hope I have the right number. This is . . .” There was a muffled noise, as if the receiver had just been covered, and then the faint, nearly obscured sound of a reprimand. “I need a minute, Jack, okay? Mommy just needs one minute. Now, please.”
No. It couldn’t be. Nora gave the key a final furious tug and then let go of it altogether, racing toward her bedroom. It just couldn’t be.
“Sorry about that.” The voice was back, unmuffled now and slightly raised. “Um, this is Ozzie Randol. I’m just calling to—”
“Ozzie!” Nora snatched the phone up so quickly that she almost dropped it. “Ozzie, I’m here!”
“Nora! Oh my God!”
“Ozzie.” Nora said the name a third time, as if the word itself would settle her breathing somehow, stop her legs from trembling. Her windbreaker, unzipped and loose, hung open in front of her like a mouth agape. How long had she been waiting for this moment? She couldn’t remember anymore. “Oh, Ozzie. Oh my God. Is that really you?”
Ozzie laughed. “Of course it’s really me. You know any other girls out there named Ozzie?”
“No.” A giggle emanated from Nora’s mouth like a bubble. “No, I’ve never met another Ozzie.” She sat down carefully on the end of her bed, smoothing the edge of the white comforter with the palm of her hand. Ozzie had the same laugh, a bright burst of sound that came out of a mouth so wide and lips so full that Nora used to wonder how everything fit in there together—and still looked so pretty.