In this first installment of a trilogy set in the fictional town of Kiss River on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Chamberlain introduces her readers to the O’Neill family. A talented artist, Annie Chase O’Neill is revered by the locals. Playfully known as Saint Anne, her light, energy, and caring for others has given unfathomable gifts to the community. Dr. Olivia Simon, new to the area, has never met the famed Saint Anne, and is shocked to realize that the woman’s heart she literally holds in her hand one fateful Christmas Eve at the Kiss River Emergency Room belongs to her. Shot directly through the heart, Olivia knows immediately that the only chance to save the woman’s life is to attempt surgery, even though her staff would feel more comfortable air-lifting Annie to a larger facility. In spite of all of Olivia’s best efforts, Annie dies on the table, leaving behind a grieving husband and children. But this is just the beginning.
Olivia’s journalist husband, Paul, has been obsessed with Annie ever since he and Olivia moved to Kiss River from Washington, DC. Olivia thinks that his fixation began with an interview he did with Annie for the local paper, but as this story unfolds through present revelations and past reflection, we find that Paul and Annie’s relationship went much deeper than Olivia knew. Olivia’s marriage in ruins, the situation is further complicated when Annie’s handsome widower, Alec O’Neill, comes looking for answers about that night in the ER. Soon a complicated love square forms between Olivia, Alec, Paul, and Annie’s shade. In the center of it all is the Kiss River Lighthouse: a symbol of all that Annie loved and was. The lighthouse is scheduled to be moved in order to make way for construction, and both Alec and Paul throw themselves into the committee dedicated to saving it. Meanwhile, Olivia slips further and further into Annie’s life, becoming obsessed with understanding what made this woman so special. As the three adults circle slowly around Annie’s memory, it becomes increasingly clear that Annie and Alec’s troubled 14-year-old daughter Lacey, the spitting image of her murdered mother, is the one they should be watching.
Check the availability of this title in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library’s catalog.