Justin Fisher appears to have the perfect life—a beautiful wife, a baby son, a glamorous job as a luxury hotel manager, and the lavish spoils of his prosperous in-laws. But beneath this charmed existence, lies a dark secret: Justin’s past is a puzzle with missing pieces. His search for the truth begins with his attempt to reconnect with his parents: a visit to 822 Lima Street—the house where he was born—a place made unforgettable by a haunting song his mother sang to him when he was a child.
Justin is shocked to discover his mother and father are dead. But the real jolt comes when he visits their gravesite. There, he finds a weathered headstone bearing his name; and an inscription that says he died before his third birthday. And so begins Dixon’s intriguing tale spanning almost four decades and thousands of miles—from the lush shores of California to the coastal hamlets of Connecticut.
At the heart of the story is the woman Justin remembers as his mother: Caroline Fisher. In college, as the result of a bicycle accident, Caroline forges friendships with three, very different men—one becomes her husband, one a secret flame, and one her closest confidant. Years later, on Halloween, the lives of this foursome collide again. The collision occurs when they are balancing jobs and families; and leads to shocking betrayals, heartbreaking loss, shattered memories—and unexpected deaths.
The drama of the story has its roots in a startling and emotionally wrenching family tragedy. Caroline, who spends most of her adult life trying to obscure the details of that tragedy, finds herself lost in her own lies; realizing, with bewilderment and regret, “that she had unwittingly written her life into a language of secrets, into an indecipherable code riddled with questions.” In chapters that alternate between the past and present, Dixon reveals the damage family members can inflict upon one another in the name of love, and explores the devastating ways in which that damage echoes from one generation to the next.