Trail of Secrets

Eileen Goudge, Author Viking Books $23.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-670-86191-0
The bonds of motherhood are yanked, twisted and stressed to the breaking point in Goudge's brazenly manipulative new novel (after Blessing in Disguise, 1994), which follows the fates of Ellie Porter Nightingale and the infant daughter stolen from her in 1972 in N.Y.C. Ellie's daughter has been raised as Skyler Sutton by a wealthy Connecticut couple who learned of the kidnapping but decided to keep their knowledge secret. Now 23, Skyler is pregnant, from a one-night stand with Manhattan cop Tony Salvatore; unwilling to raise a child, she decides to give up the baby for adoption--perhaps to one of Tony's acquaintances, that nice psychotherapist who is desperate to adopt a child: she is, of course, Ellie Porter Nightingale. The ensuing complications, though rarely unpredictable, are milked by Goudge for maximum melodrama, culminating in a swoony climax at a custody hearing. Goudge's prose, though often skillful and down-to-earth, can be plagued by too much descriptive detail and sentimentalized interior monologue. But her characters are sympathetic; her expressions of the fierce emotions of motherhood are immediate; and her crafty decision to reveal likely plot turns to her readers but not to her characters will keep all who love a secret riveted. 125,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; paperback rights to Signet; Literary Guild main selection; author tour. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
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