How do you put your life back together after learning your past is a lie? Thirty years after fifteen-year-old Julia is misunderstood by her parents and sent to boarding school, her son pushes his wife into a pregnancy she isn’t wholly ready to undertake. When their beautiful baby girl displays a frightening failure to thrive, a series of medical evaluations lead to the diagnosis of a devastating disease that reveals a world of secrets and threatens to unravel their marriage and their families. The tension mounts as two mothers are forced to uncover truths that they don’t want to face, and discover a past that will have life-altering consequences for them and everyone they love. Brooke’s Promise is a bold and hopeful story about changing expectations, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Targeted Age Group:: 16-100
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This work was inspired by the author’s love of genetics, great story-telling and the element of surprise. Having been a practicing genetic counselor for nearly thirty years, and taking inspiration from her patients, she decided to craft a story about a baby with a genetic disorder who causes her family tremendous angst but ultimately allows healing and reconciliation. Her two favorite authors, Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova, provided unmatched examples of how to craft a strong and serious story with relatable characters, humor, love and unexpected plot twists.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Once I created the storyline, I knew I needed characters who would be strong vessels for the messages I wanted to put forth. Some of them are loosely based on people in my life who I felt had personalities and histories that would be suitable models. Over time, these characters became like prized friends to me.
Kyra and Ryan had made a plan ahead of time that on the appointed day they would come home from work, have dinner together, and then she would do the pregnancy test. When she did, and the plus sign came up, they were elated. Ryan picked her up and danced around the living room with Kyra in his arms like he was carrying her over the threshold on their wedding night.
Before having a chance to go to Dr. Pierson for confirmation, they hung out in their spare room that night, and day-dreamed. They talked about names, colors to paint the room for the baby, and how their parents would be as grandparents. Ryan said his mother had been acting weird lately.
“How can you tell?” Kyra asked with a smirk.
“Sorry, but really. Tell me when she’s been very normal.”
“Normal is a relative term, my love.” Ryan said, as he brought his bottle of Corona to his lips. After a long sip, he continued, “Relative to your mother, no, she’s never been ‘normal.’ But relative to herself, even, she’s been acting weird lately. Have you seen it too?”
“Well, no, but I’ve made it a point not to see her. I don’t need to hear her judgments about how what we’re doing isn’t natural, and how she wouldn’t do it. Her friends didn’t do things like this, etc. Who needs it? I did, however, talk to Gretchen the other day, and she said she’s concerned about your mom too. She also said she’s been acting odd, even for her.”
“Why qualify it with ‘even for her?’ I know you don’t like my mother. And granted, she’s not always the most likable person. But she means well, and she’s been good to you.”
“Ryan, really, good to me? In what way has she been good to me? Please, regale me with stories I don’t remember. What I do remember is a woman who looked me up and down the day we met, and pretty much decided then and there I wasn’t good enough for her son, and she hasn’t looked back since. She wept at our wedding.”
“Oh, every mother does that. That’s nothing.”
“Yeah, mothers do that. Out of joy, normally. But your mother’s tears were sorrowful, sad, almost shameful. It was like she was losing you and not gaining a daughter-in-law. Like she was losing part of herself. She never welcomed me into your family, never hugged me, never took me shopping, never had a manicure with me, never showed me any kindness of any type. So tell me, how has she been good to me? Just because she didn’t throw me out of her house?”
Ryan sat motionless. He had started to raise his beer toward his mouth again, but stopped in mid-air. He didn’t know what to do or say. He hadn’t realized any of this, and certainly had no idea that Kyra felt this way. It was as if he had been hit by a two-by-four in the back of the head. When he regained some sense of speech, he responded slowly.
“Wow, honey, I had no idea. She’s not warm to anyone. But I had no sense that she was this cold to you or that you were feeling this… this…” He didn’t know how to finish his sentence.
“Neglected? Ostracized? Unappreciated?” Kyra offered. “Well, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it’s never been good. Maybe giving her a grandchild will soften her up a bit, but that’s like asking an iceberg to melt.”
“You know,” Ryan said, gazing thoughtfully at the ceiling, “she never talks about her childhood or her relationship with her own parents. Maybe she had this kind of distant and odd relationship with them. I’ve read articles that talk about how important early bonding is. Maybe she didn’t bond well with her mother and therefore couldn’t bond well enough with her children. You think?”
“Maybe, but I’m not asking her.”
“Me, neither.” Ryan answered. “But seriously, I vow to you and all that is holy that my relationship with our child will be much closer than I’ve ever had with my mother. More like what I have with my dad.”
Kyra took Ryan in her arms and held him close. “Deal,” she said, and they stayed that way, hugging each other tightly in their unborn baby’s room for a long time.
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