.. his little cabin in the woods. No- one besides him was aloud there, and nobody but him and his mother had ever been there. He told Jen it was his special place to be at peace and where he felt he could work his best. Jen understood this, thinking nothing really of it.
Until, Erich started to leave for days at a time. This really worried Jen, she also missed her husband. They had only been married such a short while, she just could not understand why all of this stuff was happening. When she went on a walk one day she stumbled upon something. It was a graveyard.
It was the Kruegar Family Graveyard. Opening the fence she entered the little space and looked around. She scanned all the gravestones, but none shown up with the name “Caroline Bonardi”. Caroline was Erich’s mothers name. Then deep in the corner, under a big tree was a stone. Jen slowly walked across to look at the stone as she peered down a hand on her shoulder startled her. She turned around to find Erich standing behind her.
His face looked stern and he looked upset. She looked at him innocently and his face calmed he told her of his mother, her accident, and why she was buried in the far corner. Jen thought about everything he said, and asked herself, why doesn’t this all work out? Weeks passed and she had become quite close Clydes wife. Clyde was the man who ran the farm while Erich was away. Rooney was Clyde’s wifes name. She was a simple woman, who was made out to be crazy and looney.
Which she was not. Jen knew this right away, just after spending some time with her. Rooney told Jen a lot of things Erich had left out. How when Erich was young, he was really very attached to his mother. He never wanted Caroline out of his sight. Jen never let on that she knew any of this stuff when Erich was around.
But then really strange things began to happen. One was when Kevin turned up dead. The police had stopped by to talk to Jen about Kevin’s death. He was found in a nearby river his car had been run off the bank and into the rapid icy water. In the car was Jen’s jacket, so the police were led to believe that Jen had something to do with the accident.
But truth was, Jen didn’t even know that Kevin had been up and around Minnesota at the time. Jen was confused. Soon enough everyone thought she was a crazy confused woman, they thought she was dangerous because she lied. Jen felt like there wasn’t a care in the world, but then Mark showed up. Mark believed that Jen was telling the truth. He was on her side.
Together they tried to figure everything out. Then one day. Jen came home to find that Erich had taken Tina and Beth away. He called later that night saying he wouldn’t be back. He made her feel guilty by saying things such like telling her that she promised that she’d never leave him, and that she said they’d be together forever.
Jen was stressed beyond belief, how in the world did he find out about her trying to leave. She then knew that the only thing she could do was find that cabin out in the woods. She set out, day after day, not knowing where and when she would find it, and then one day, she stumbled upon it. She broke into the cabin by breaking a window and unlocking the door. Upon entering she felt this cold chill go right through her.
She looked around, amazed. Art work lined the walls. But it wasn’t Erich’s artwork. It was not his scribbled signature. It was one of a woman named Caroline Bonardi.
Looking around Jen stood in a maze of art supplies. She just couldn’t understand. What did Erich do with all the time he spend here, if all he did was copy over the signature of his mother. So she looked around. She found a closet, or what appeared to be a closet. She opened to the door and to her horror, on an easel, was a picture of her, her 2 children, dead.
It was a brutal picture. She was scared, this was Erich’s work. Taking the painting under her arm, she ran. As soon as she got back to the house, she called for Mark. Mark arrived at the house no more then 10 minutes later. In horror she showed the picture to Mark.
All of a sudden there was a knocking at the door. Who could that be? They quickly shoved the painting into the closet, and opened the door. There stood the sheriff. He looked at Jen and said, “We need to speak with Erich, where is he?” Jen told him that he had gone a little vacation with the children and should be back soon. The sheriff nodded and then said to her, “Your husband is a fraud, those were his mothers paintings, not his,” and then he left. Jen couldn’t take it anymore she turned to Mark, and started to sob.
It was Erich’s 35th birthday on that next day. It was nearly 20 years ago that Caroline had died. Sad enough that she had died on his birthday. It tore him up. Then it hit her, she realized what she had to do in order to get Erich to come back.
Ever since Erich was a little boy he had never left the farm on his birthday. Jen had always resembled Caroline. That is why Erich had picked her. It had taken her this long to realize this. She knew what she had to do.
In order to get her children back and to help Erich, she had to pretend to be Caroline. There was a picture of Caroline that Erich had treasured. Jen found some clothes that were basically identical to those Caroline was wearing in the picture, she put them on, and went outside to sit in Caroline’s chair. Mark was sitting inside waiting. Then all of a sudden came Erich running, he was dressed just the same as Jen, just like Caroline was in the picture.
He had a gun. Mark had called the sheriff to come down. Mark ran outside in fear that Erich would shoot at Jen. Jen was just as scared and then, “BOOM”. Erich was dead. Jen had began to cry. Mark had put his arms around Jen and hugged her.
Everyone had come running. The sheriff arrived. Erich’s body was taken away. But where were her children. Erich had whispered that he had been staying 6 hours north of there and that the children were alone. But now Erich was gone, and they didn’t even know where to start.
Jen was going crazy. Her little babies were alone, in the cold. They would freeze to death. Mark recalled a house that Erich had owned, it was the first place they checked. He was right.
And then it seemed to come to an end. Jen couldn’t go back to New York, she had no life there, and yet, she had no life in Erich’s house either. Mark had told her that he had a little house on a lake that he rented out. Jen took it. There she lived and raised her children. Traumatized for life she would stay, but she at least knew that all her troubles were over, and she’d always have a friend when she needed one, and that was Mark. Conclusion: This book was really good.
A page turner at any rate. I loved it. It was full of suspense and mystery. I kept asking myself, “What’s going to happen next?” I just could not put it down. The book told a good story though.
It taught about lies, deceit, cheating. That’s life, right? It seemed like the story was real. As much as we all know it was not. It could have been. And it could have happened to anyone.