Family Of Strangers by Barbara Willis
What would you do if someone you loved disappeared? What would you do if you were told they’d never existed? This most awful of nightmares comes true for Eva when her closest friend, Annie, vanishes. Even Annie’s parents deny her existence.
The uncertainty of the early months of 1939 has been eclipsed. Eva’s comfortable, normal small town life becomes despairing and desperate, until a friendly hand reaches out to her. The elderly and eccentric Lola shows no surprise at Eva’s tale. Neither does Gabe; young, handsome and distant. They have answers that lead to more questions, and information that leads to confusion. The pair guide Eva through a new and frightening world towards her beloved Annie. Eva is sure that her search has absorbed every part of her, until she realises how close she’s becoming to the mysterious but tender Gabe.
As Eva learns more about the hidden world now exposed to her, the depth of which seems infinite, she finds that people can be lost and all memory of them forsaken. Gabe and Lola are lost, just like Annie; but unlike Annie, no-one is looking for them to guide them home. Eva, now attached to Lola and deeply tied to Gabe, struggles to believe that nothing can be done to help them.
Eva’s search is littered with many things – doubt, discovery, love, belonging and a myriad of scary jigsaw pieces; lost friends, the giving of gifts, a library of books, a troubled conscience and a brilliant pianist. Can Eva piece it all together to see the picture or has she missed something? Does Eva find Annie? Will Gabe reveal his story and are his and Lola’s other lost friends a help or a hindrance?
And is there something crucially important that not one of them is telling Eva?