A Blessed Event
By Jean Reynolds Page
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345462169, 368pp.)
Publication Date: January 25, 2005
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How much is too much to ask of friendship? How long will the bonds of family endure when confronted with swift, unexpected change? These are the intimate questions Jean Reynolds Page poses in A Blessed Event, her assured and powerful literary debut.
Joanne Timbro and Darla Stevens have grown up in a small Texas town, their childhood homes separated only by adjoining back yards. Although the families inside these houses have little in common, the two girls find in each other a rare friendship that will take them into their adult lives; a friendship that makes them stronger together than either could be alone.
Then as young women, Darla and Jo enter into an agreement that will startle everyone who cares for them. After years of watching Darla’s heartbreaking failure to have a baby with her husband, Cal, Joanne agrees to give birth to the child that Darla cannot have on her own.
But in the early morning hours of a warm July morning, everything changes. Joanne, then four months pregnant, is driving a car that veers off the road near the home that Darla shares with Cal. In the days and months that follow, Darla must face for the first time in her memory, the possibility of life without Jo. As Darla tries to uncover the secrets that brought her friend out onto the highway in those dark morning hours, she discovers that she must also fight to keep the baby that was intended to be her child.
With the child’s fate hanging in the balance, Darla searches for clues to Jo’s strange behavior leading up to the crash. In the process, she discovers truths that hide in her own life: in her marriage, in her closest friendships, and in a past that has suddenly reemerged, full of unfolding secrets.
Tender and heartbreaking, hopeful and honest, A Blessed Event brings life’s everyday experiences into bright focus, contrasting beautifully the pain of suffering with the sublime joys of surviving—and truly living.
Jean Reynolds Page grew up in North Carolina and lived in Texas, the setting for A Blessed Event, for ten years. She has worked as an arts publicist in New York City and has written about dance for numerous publications. She currently lives in the Seattle area with her husband and three children.
“Out of a tortured tangle of friendship and betrayal comes this fast-moving, timely tale. . . . Jean Reynolds Page knows how to hold the reader riveted while her story races on to its surprising conclusion.”
“Jean Reynolds Page makes an extraordinary debut with A Blessed Event, a wonderful, riveting novel that explores human relationships from every angle. There is betrayal and there is redemption; in between there are complex situations and wonderful details of the life of a mother, daughter, lover, friend—most of all, a friend. I couldn’t put it down.”