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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of History eBook: A Blessed Event: A Novel|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Random House, Inc.|
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A Blessed Event: A Novel
Alliance, Texas-July 1983
I wanted a family. I wanted Joanne to be part of us, of our family. Cal, my husband, he wanted the same thing, at first. Somehow, all our reasons got lost. I was the last one to know that something had gone wrong with our plans. Once I found out, everything went to hell pretty fast.
By the time it all came clear to me, Joanne's 1980 Buick Le Sabre was down the hall in my bedroom, tipped headlong over my dresser. A steep embankment runs up beside our house to the highway. Joanne lost control of her car at the moment when her headlights would have flashed by our window. She was my closest friend. I don't remember a time before I knew her. She was as close as family. When she agreed to my plan, she became family. I still believe that.
The seconds after that accident were the most awful moments of my life, when Cal and I woke to the sounds of Jo's car crashing into our bedroom, crunching our wall like a Saltine cracker. Wood and paint sprayed everywhere, along with glass from the windows and picture frames. I had cuts in a dozen places on my body that I never felt.
My first thought was about the baby. Somehow I thought Joanne would be strong enough to get up and walk away. She'd stood up to her daddy for twenty-seven years; a car wreck shouldn't have been the end of it. But the baby, I didn't know if the baby could take something like that. Then I saw Joanne. I saw her bloody and broken through the car window and I just knew they were both lost.
I stayed in the room as long as I could, until the smell of gasoline and the sight of my friend turned my stomach inside out. I stayed while Cal went to get help and I tried to