Fate sometimes conspires to right a decades-old wrong. One warm March night a 6.8 earthquake strikes Southern California, and the event brings family therapist Ann Hart and trauma specialist Ted McConaughy back together. While searching for her cell phone after the tremor, Ann picks up a shard of vintage cut glass from a collection she and her husband gathered during the four years of their marriage. For the millionth time she thinks about the day six years ago when he disappeared on a search and rescue mission in the Sierra foothills.
Sitting atop the shattered crystal, a small silver cigar lighter glistens in the beam of her flashlight. Gently she returns the Victorian piece to the shelf. What does it mean that something she and Ted, her ex-fiancé, bought together survived when Alex’s beautiful glass is smashed to dust? Ann tells herself that it means nothing.
Sara Jane McConaughy’s father comforts her after the powerful quake. The 16-year-old girl has never experienced something like this before, but his mind is flooded with memories of the Northridge quake in 1994. He was living with his fiancée, his ex-fiancée, and even after all these years he doesn’t know what caused the split. He had always loved her, and he’d been sure she loved him.
Both Ann and Ted volunteer with the American Red Cross in the aftermath of the earthquake, and come face-to-face for the first time since their break-up twenty years ago. And they both find themselves flooded with a wide range of emotion in each others’ proximity.
Ted experiences short lapses of time and sleepwalking. His dreams take a heavy toll on his waking hours, and Sara Jane’s concern sends Ted on a quest to discover the cause and find a cure. When all medical possibilities are exhausted, he turns to a colleague, whose diagnosis leaves Ted more baffled than ever. Tom Alderman believes that the dreams are memories of past lives that live in his subconscious, and that the cure is hypnotherapy.
After several months of suffering with these increasingly emotional recurring dreams, Ted turns to Ann for help. Hypnotherapy is one of her specialties – and since he must be able to trust the hypnotist – Ann is his only salvation. At the urging of a mutual friend, Ann agrees to help and it sends her carefully planned and calm life into utter turmoil. The garden gate they pass through together sends them on a journey that defies time and reason, forcing them to rethink their past, present, and future. Now, each must reconsider their capacity for love and forgiveness. Things are not always what they seem.
Connect with author Sally Smith O’Rourke
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