The Reckoning

The Reckoning

Large Print - 2004
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Raised by a homeless drifter in the American southwest, fifteen-year-old Cate has never known what it's like to have a home or a loving family, let alone how it feels to buy new clothes. But this is the only way of life she's ever been exposed to: travelling the dusty highway from town to town and living hand to mouth, stealing only when the welfare cheques or food stamps run out. Despite her hardscrabble existence and lack of education, Cate is intelligent, forceful and fiercely loyal to Les, the only parent she has ever known. She's always been aware that Les kidnapped her from her parents' campsite when she was just three years old, but can hardly imagine how different her own life would have been if she'd never been taken, or how traumatic her disappearance was for her mother. Les has even called Janice Wingford over the years, to let her know that her daughter is alive. Listening in, Cate has always interpreted her mother's disbelief as a lack of love.
But as The Reckoning""opens, Les is making a very different phone call than usual: he's decided that it's time to return Cate to her mother and tells the woman that he'll be bringing her daughter home to Virginia. Les's decision is not the result of remorse or wanting to do the right thing, but his realization that he may not be able to control Cate any longer -- she's committed a vicious crime, and his self-serving, fatherly love is not strong enough to survive such a test. Cate has mixed feelings, of course -- she's curious about what it will be like to meet her mother, but certain that the woman will take one look at her and demand they leave, whether because she doesn't believe Les's story or because she just doesn't like Cate. She's also scared that Les might abandon her with this stranger, and as they drive across the country to bring about the reunion she makes him promise not to leave her there alone.
The emotional heart of this novel lies in what happens when mother and daughter are brought together again, and DNA tests prove that Les is telling the truth. Cate must try to get beyond her resentment and learn what it means to have a mother, and to love her for that reason alone. Janice has to try to reconcile her memories of her sweet three-year-old with the reality of brash, difficult Cate. Complicating their uneasy relationship is the truth of Cate's crime, which prevents both women from getting too close. But when Cate's lies become unbearable, her mother determines that the facts must come out if there's to be any hope they'll truly accept one another. Together, they travel to the scene of the crime -- a small town in the western desert -- to confront the truth.
The Reckoning""is a powerful and almost gut-wrenching exploration of what it means to be mother and daughter when horrific events of the past threaten to destroy that tenuous bond. Patricia Tyrrell's use of Cate's first-person perspective allows her to bring the conflicting emotions of her characters to the forefront, and the intensity of her writing suffuses the novel with suspense. But it is the stunning premise of this story that has gained Tyrrell the most attention. Asked how she came up with the idea, the author has commented: "I had read a newspaper account of how an American woman was deceived by phone calls into believing that her kidnapped daughter was still alive, although in fact the child was killed soon after the abduction. I thought: What if the child were alive? What if the abductor was desperate to return her? Why would he want to take such a risk? And the idea of the girl who committed a murder then came to me." From there, Tyrrell drew on her experiences living in the United States to flesh out the narrative and created this dramatic meditation on the themes of loss and reunion, parents and children, and nature versus nurture.
Publisher: Anstey, Eng. : Thorpe, 2004, c2002.
Edition: Large print ed.
ISBN: 9781843956815
1843956810
Characteristics: 328 p. ;,24 cm.

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