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The Mother's Promise

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Have read all of Ms Hepworth's  novels....She keeps on getting better and better.  Thanks for sharing her latest w/ me.  Have recommended it to my three local libraries.
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This is the second book I have read by this author and I loved this one as much as the first. The characters are very well developed. I feel like the author does an excellent job bringing them to life and made me care about them.
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It has always been just Alice and Zoe Stanhope against the world.  Zoe's father has never been in the picture and the only family that Alice has left is an unreliable alcoholic brother.  In the past, it has been okay with just the two of the, but Alice has just been diagnosed with Stage III Ovarian Cancer.   Alice is terrified about the future and what will happen to fifteen-year-old Zoe if she can't beat cancer.   While Zoe is a terrific kid, she struggles with serious anxiety issues that manifest into scary panic attacks.  In this scary reality, Alice reluctantly leans on two women for help.  Her nurse, Kate, and the social worker assigned to her case, Sonja.  Together this team helps Kate fight the dreaded disease, but they also help Zoe deal with their new reality.  But what will happen to Zoe if Alice doesn't beat cancer?

My initial reaction to the first pages of this book was an intense rage that Alice would allow her daughter to stop therapy and only take Klonopin in "emergencies".  I was so angry I told my husband about it.  A teen girl in my life struggles with major anxiety. The minute her parents realized that it was starting to debilitate her they sought help.  You don't just let her quit therapy and not be on medicine to help her brain even out.  I know the book would have lost some of the dramatic appeal if Zoe didn't have these issues, but it was still incredibly irresponsible parenting in my opinion.  I stuck with the book because I wanted to see if Alice would redeem herself.  I wouldn't say that I ended up forgiving Alice, but I felt a deep compassion for her situation.  I liked that Zoe and Kate seemed to click and Sonja had her on issues that revealed themselves quite explosively.  The Mother's Promise was a heartbreaking story in so many ways, but despite everything, it was a good read.  - CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS

Bottom line -  The Mother's Promise is a story about three women and a teen girl who all are fighting battles.  Anxiety, infertility, cancer, or domestic abuse.  The underlying theme that emerges in The Mother's Promise is that it is critical for everybody to have a support network.  To have somebody who will "get your back" no matter what the situation.  There is a lot of discussion topics in this one - your local book club will love it!  The Mother's Promise is on shelves 2/21/2017.

The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth
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Pages: 385
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 2/21/2017
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Posted in 2017 , ARC , Fiction , Netgalley
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The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. Mark Twain 

Cry fest- sob fest- it's all pretty ugly. However, the story is beautiful. A mother's love no matter how imperfect it maybe, it all starts with sacrifices that are gladly given. Alice has always placed her daughter Zoe first. Zoe suffers from social anxiety and when Alice receives the news that she has cancer, both of their worlds crumble. Zoe and Alice live life pretty much to themselves. With Zoe's anxiety, they do not have many friends and due to family dysfunction, her only brother is not supportive material. It is the hospital staff of two women that come along Alice and Zoe in this time of crisis. Sonya a counselor that helps families make adjustments and Kate a nurse that helps with medical questions. Each of these women have their own crisis that tie to Alice and Zoe.

Kate who is married with a great family. Her husband who was married before is supportive of Kate and her desire to have her own baby until so many disappointments that it causes strife in their marriage and what they each want different things.

Zoe who is denial of an abusive husband and without either her and Alice's knowledge, have a shared story. 

Each of these women accept a new reality that is different but at it's core the same. They come together that is both redemptive and beautiful. Many emotions with these women. I loved it.

A Special Thank You to St Martin's Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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Special Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read "The Mother's Promise" in return for a fair and honest review. 
Kudos to Sally Hepworth for this extraordinary story!! 

For 15 years it has been Alice and her daughter, Zoe. Alice, being a single mom devotes all her time and energy caring for her daughter. Zoe has a social anxiety disorder that makes it difficult for her to make friends. They are a family.. A Team of Two!!  With no family except for Alice's brother who has a drinking problem, they have nobody but each other. Suddenly Alice finds herself not feeling well and is eventually diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Their world as they know it is turned upside down and inside out. 

This is the story of a mother's love for her daughter and a daughter's love for her mother. It is also the the story of how complete strangers can come into somebody's life to help them only to find out    it is exactly what they needed in their own lives to heal. The characters are so well presented, you have no choice but to empathize with each of them- Alice, the mom.. Zoe, the daughter.. Kate, the nurse.. Sonja, the social worker. The lives of these four characters are intertwined in such an extraordinary way that it makes one believe there truly is good in this crazy world. This heartbreaking yet heartwarming story will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride that will have you reaching for the tissues more than once. 

I highly recommend "The Mother's Promise" to anybody who enjoys the woman's fiction genre. A Spectacular Story very well-written and researched. 

On a personal note, I sat down three times to write this review, however the feelings, the thoughts and life lessons had my mind racing. So many issues, social anxiety disorder, cancer, infertility and an abusive relationship - loads to think about there. With that being said, I feel my review just can't do justice to this story!!
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Alice and Zoe have always been a team of two. Alice has no family, other than an alcoholic brother who is estranged, and she has never given Zoe any details of her father. He is just "not in the picture".
They are perfectly happy, but their lives aren't perfect. At 15, Zoe suffers debilitating social anxiety and panic attacks and her mother Alice has just been diagnosed with cancer.

It doesn't sound like the most uplifting premise of a novel, but it actually had a number of sweet, funny and poignant moments and is not at all difficult to read. 
<i>"Happiness was something you shared, chatted about, asked after. Suffering was something that you had to do behind closed doors, in silence, all alone."</i>
As the side characters are introduced, they all have their own personal challenges, and the way all the secrets are unravelled and friendships are formed is really lovely. There is a realisation that it helps to have shared problems and not hidden behind closed doors.

The author's note she states <i>"For some reason, I continue to write about motherhood..... it's possible that I'll be writing about this subject for the rest of my life"</i>. As my 3rd Hepworth novel I really hope that is the case. As I've said before, keep an eye on this author because there is no reason for her not to be the next Liane Moriarty or :Jojo Moyes. She has a wonderful writing style and an amazing ability to create real, loving characters. Please do yourself a favour and go and pick one of her novels up.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Maybe if I don't write a review, I can hang onto the charms and lessons of this book. No. That's not right. Others need to read it and the only way to hang on to the knowledge in this book is to read it again.

I finished this book four days ago. That's how long I had the above conversation with myself.

There is a nice blurb about this book on GoodReads. And the one on NetGalley had me seeking it out. I'm glad they let me read it. But here's my blurb: A young teen with severe social anxiety only child of a single mother dying of cancer, a social worker who is a victim of abuse, a nurse who is finished with IVF unsuccessfully.

Sally Hepworth pulls these four females into a book that is hard to put down and hard to leave behind. And not only is it a great story, it is full of real life answers to some of the problems these fems deal with. 

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this, again. I do plan on a second read. Please read it, especially if you have social anxiety, there are some good ideas in here and the author shows she knows how we feel who have it. There are triggers for cancer patients and abuse victims but they are handled well and give each of the other characters more depth.
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This is one of the best books I've read in a long time! Te character development and insight is perfect!
A mother always promises to be there for her child but when cancer is the diagnosis for Alice, she worries about what will happen to her daughter Zoe, who suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder. She turns to her nurse and social worker and finds that through it all, Zoe is stronger than she imagined and that even her alcoholic brother might be counted on. This was one of the page turners that I couldn't put down. An absolute 5 stars from me!
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This book does a beautiful job of honestly portraying the effects of cancer on both the patient and his or her loved ones. Also covering subjects like anxiety, abuse, love, and family, The Mother's Promise has something for just about everyone. I started this novel assuming it would be super sappy; therefore, not my cup of tea. I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I could easily relate to many of Zoe's experiences. I've also lost loved ones to cancer, so I understood the fear surrounding Alice's diagnosis. This novel reads quickly, but you might want to slow down and savor parts of it. Be warned, though, that the last few chapters will probably make you bawl like a baby. (It's a book about cancer. So saying that you're going to cry at some point is totally not a spoiler.)
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If I could, I would rate this book 3.5 stars.

I was drawn to this book because of its title, and because I recognized Hepworth's name as an author whose novel was on to my "to read" list. When given the chance to read an advance copy prior to publication, I was excited for the opportunity.

The novel follows the lives of four women. Alice, a headstrong, ambitious, and devoted single mother, discovers she has cancer. Zoe, Alice's daughter, is in high school and suffers from severe social anxiety. Kate, Alice's oncology nurse, juggles both her dedication to her patients and her desire to become a mother. Sonja, the social worker assigned to Alice's case, wants what's best for families, but doesn't always seek the best home life for herself.

The strongest aspect of this novel was the relationship between Alice and Zoe. Hepworth masterfully took readers through Alice's struggle between caring for herself and her daughter. Her jealously of Kate, who cared for Zoe at times when Alice was in the hospital, ultimately strengthened her relationship with her daughter as she learned more about what Zoe needed and gained through her relationship with Kate. Hepworth's exploration of Zoe's social anxiety was both enlightening and heartbreaking, and was a pivotal part of their mother/daughter connection.

I also enjoyed reading Kate's storyline. Her struggles to have a child, and the impact on her marriage, were believable and helped explain her motivation to care for Zoe. Her care and support as Zoe struggled with her mother's cancer and issues at school were heartwarming.

My main criticism of this novel was the character of Sonja and her storyline. While Hepworth effectively connects her to the other three characters, I felt her story added an element of suspense and tragedy that ultimately detracted from the main heart of the novel. I would have much preferred more interactions between Alice and Zoe, Kate and Alice, and Zoe and Kate with Sonja (and her associated story lines) used solely as a mechanism to bring Zoe and Kate together. The twists her story lines added were both predictable and felt out of place with the rest of the novel's charm.

Ultimately, I am glad I read The Mother's Promise, and am interested in reading more by Sally Hepworth. It was the kind of lighter fiction I was looking for at the time I read it, and would likely fare well as a book club selection. I think fans of books like When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker and Before I Go by Colleen Oakley will likely enjoy this novel. 

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The Mother's Promise is about a teenage girl, Zoe, who has anxiety issues, and her single mother, Alice,  who isn't well. Alice is completely alone (apart from her daughter), and she needs a solution to the problem of what will happen if perchance, she doesn't make it. How does she go about trying to find someone to care for Zoe, someone who will protect her and care for her the way she always has? Neither Alice nor Zoe are particularly trusting of others, nor do they relate easily to those outside their universe. 

Sally Hepworth is famous in my reading world for creating warm, endearing stories. Real characters, with true to life problems that tug at heartstrings and get my emotions going.  This one has Zoe. The mother in you will reach out to this troubled soul, wanting her to find her way in the boggy morass that is high school (anti)social environment, desperate for her to find friends, kindred spirits, understanding souls. Try not to wring your hands, or get too emotionally connected - it is just a story - that's the thing about these books. 

But that's the thing about these books. Like The Secrets of Midwives and The Things We Keep, they get under your skin. Told with a light touch that manages to see the silver lining without being preachy and find the rainbow's pot of gold without diminishing the harsh realities, you are in accomplished hands here.

I loved this book, finished it in a day or two and won't easily forget it.

An enchanting story.
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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This story about a mother's love for her daughter was touching, heartwarming and heartbreaking ... all at the same time. There were some melancholy topics presented -- social anxiety, cancer, infertility and abuse.  Even with all of these rather "heavy" topics, I enjoyed this book and read it in in one sitting.
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This was a beautifully written book about Alice and Zoe, a mother and daughter who have been on their own since Zoe's birth and are very close.  Alice receives devastating news and the decisions she makes affect Zoe and her small circle of acquaintances profoundly.  Will they be up to the challenge?  Heartrending and uplifting throughout, this novel will make you wonder what you would do if you were Alice.  Enjoyed it immensely.
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This is the first novel of Sally Hepworth's that I have read. I absolutely loved it, and now I  want to read everything she has written or ever will write.

As soon as I read the description of this book I knew I was likely going to be an emotional mess while reading it. Oh and I was right. But while it was emotional and I definitely ugly cried, it's a book that I won't ever forget. Maybe part of it is because of my own circumstances and the fact that I have a teenage daughter? Possibly. But I think it's mostly because it's just that good of a read.

Alice Stanhope has a few health scares but usually it just means some tests that cost a lot of money but everything ends up being okay. So now she sits in her doctor's office waiting to be told she's in the clear. Then she can get back to work. Alice takes care of elderly people for a living, a home helper she keeps people company, drives them to appointments and other places, and cooks and cleans for them.

She isn't really paying attention when her doctor says something about a mass, a CA 125 score, and some kind of -ectomy. She's distracted by thoughts of her daughter, Zoe. As she left for school she told her mother she was fine, but Alice knew she was anything but fine. When the doctor has to cough to get her attention, Alice apologizes.  A nurse, Kate who is also present for the appointment tells Alice that her test results were not what they had hoped for. The doctor then tells Alice she requires emergency surgery. An invasive surgery that may end with her having to stay in the hospital for up to a week.

They tell Alice she will need a support person to help her after the surgery. Alice tells them her parents are both deceased and her brother...well he wouldn't be any help to Alice. She says that it can't be her daughter, Zoe either and does not even want Zoe to know what is going on. They try to tell her that at age fifteen, Zoe can probably help more than Alice realizes but Alice is adamant.

"Zoe doesn't need to be involved in this. She can't handle this. She isn't like a normal teenager."

They try to get Alice to understand just how serious this is and that she is definitely going to need someone. What finally gets her attention is when they use the word "Cancer". She can't have cancer. She is under forty, eats well and exercises but mostly she CANNOT have cancer because she has Zoe.

Kate Littleton is a nurse. She has been delivering bad news to people for the last five years and it never gets easier. In Alice Stanhope, Kate sees an extreme case of denial. This is the first time she's come across someone who says they don't have a support person. Alice is going to need someone to help her through the hardest time in her life. All patients need "mothering". Someone who will reassure them and fight for them.  Kate herself wants to be a mother. She has the man of her dreams and two great step-children but she really wants to have a baby of her own as well.

Next we meet Alice's daughter Zoe.  She is at school and she's trying very hard to follow the rules. Not the class rules..... her own set of rules. The rules are extensive and give us immediate insight into the extent of Zoe's social anxiety. Rules like....never place both feet on the ground while sitting and never be the first or last person to take their seat. Zoe does everything to keep people from noticing her. She won't eat in public (there is too much potential for things to go wrong) and tries her best not to talk in public either. Zoe can only be herself around her "safe people". Her mother is the safest person of course. Another safe person is her friend, Emily. However, lately Emily has been irritated and impatient with her. Zoe is worried that Emily will move on and leave her behind.

Finally we meet the social worker, Sonja. Sonja deals with abuse cases, people who have lost a loved one as well as with patients who have cancer. She's also dealing with some personal struggles of her own, but has gotten very good at pretending everything is just fine.  Sonja is the social worker that Kate is meeting with to discuss Alice's case.

This novel has a lot going on. So many SECRETS that are revealed as we get to know these four very different characters. All of these women are dealing with serious life issues and challenges. They also have very different ideas about each other. As the book goes on we see how these women with all of their individual struggles become integral parts of each others lives. Their relationships set off a chain of events that I NEVER saw coming.

I know I said it already but this book is AWESOME!  Very well written. Lots of great characters. I could feel the emotion and anxiety at times and the connection between mother and daughter felt very real. They have been each others everything for so long and what is happening is terrifying to them both. It can be so hard to ask for the help you desperately need. 

As I mentioned before, I cried a lot while reading this but in many ways my tears were cathartic. There are also many light and funny moments in the book. 

There are different types of anxiety. For example, social anxiety, panic disorder, generalized anxiety and more. Everyone who suffers from an anxiety disorder is different. However, from my own experience as well as my experiences with my daughter, I feel like the author did a very good job describing social anxiety as well as how others may react to those who suffer from any of these disorders.

Sally Hepworth does a wonderful job of bringing her characters and their individual stories to life.  A powerful story that got inside my head, I was invested in every one of these characters lives and HAD to know what was going to happen. Honestly, I was completely gripped from the time I started this book until I finished the last page. A story about motherhood, love, friendship, illness, forgiveness and SO MUCH MORE! 

"The Mother's Promise" is a book that's going to stay with me for a long time. It is a great read that I highly recommend.

I would like to thank the St. Martin's Press, Sally Hepworth, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book.
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St. Martin's Press and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of The Mother's Promise.  This is my honest opinion of the book.

Alice Stanhope and her daughter Zoe are everything to each other, especially given the fact that Zoe suffers from a crippling form of social anxiety.  When Alice receives the worst possible news, she ends up with unexpected supporters in her corner, including her alcoholic brother, her nurse, and her social worker.  Will startling revelations threaten the fragile plans that Alice wishes to put into motion?

The Mother's Promise is the realistic portrayal of a relationship between mother and daughter, tested by unforeseen circumstances.   There were too many side plots, which included problems that the other characters had that steal some of the focus from the main story.  The book flowed well and had great characterization, especially in regards to Alice.  Despite circumstances beyond her control, Alice has remained strong and resolute.  The Mother's Promise was well written, sad but hopeful at the same time.  I definitely would recommend it to readers who like authors such as Jodi Picoult and I look forward to reading more by author Sally Hepworth in the future.
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Alice Stanhope und ihre 15-jährige Tochter Zoe stehen ganz alleine in der Welt. Zoes Vater spielt keine Rolle und der Bruder von Alice ist Alkoholiker. Sonst gibt es niemanden, der ihnen in einem Notfall zur Seite stehen könnte. Die 40-jährige Alice ist beim Arzt und bekommt zunächst gar nicht wirklich mit, dass man ihr versucht schonend eine harte Diagnose beizubringen. Ihre Gedanken schweifen ständig zu ihrer Tochter Zoe ab. Sie fragt sich, ob sie wohl einen guten Tag an der Schule habeb wird. Sie versteht erst beim vierten Anlauf, was der Arzt und die Schwester ihr versuchen zu erklären. Sie hat Eierstockkrebs und muss kurzfristig operiert werden und wird später eine Chemo benötigen.

Kate ist Krankenschwester und auf die Begleitung von Krebspatienten spezialisiert. Aus ihrer Sicht sieht es bei Alice fehlender Reaktion zunächst nach einem schweren Fall von Verleugnung aus. Sie denkt Alice braucht dringend Unterstützung und Begleitung bei dem was vor ihr liegt, aber Alice wiederum kann nur an Zoe denken und dass ihre Tochter jemanden brauchen wird. Kate denkt spontan, dass sie versuchen will Alice in der Behandlung eine Art mütterliche Unterstützung zu sein.

Kate, selber Mitte dreißig, zieht als zusätzliche Unterstützung noch die Sozialarbeiterin des Krankenhauses Sonja dazu, sie ist in den Fünfzigern. Es stellt sich heraus, dass alle drei Frauen ein hartes Schicksal haben, auch wenn auf sehr unterschiedliche Weise. Kate hat gerade nach der dritten künstlichen Befruchtung wieder eine Fehlgeburt erlitten und Sonja kämpft damit, dass ihr Ehemann teilweise sexuell aggressiv ist.

Zoe leidet unter einer ausgeprägten sozialen Angststörung. Ihre Ängste verhindern auch jede Therapie, sie kann keine Tabletten nehmen und Therapiesitzungen erträgt sie auch nicht. Sie hat diese Probleme seit sie mit fünf mit der Vorschule begonnen hat.

Für Mutter und Tochter beginnt ein Kampf ums Durchkommen, ums Überleben.

Als kleiner Lichtblick erlebt man in diesem Buch, dass auch eine krebskranke mit den Tod ringende Frau noch Erlebnisse und besondere Ereignisse haben kann.

Zum letzten Viertel des Buches tritt dann eine ungeahnte heftige Verwicklung auf, die die Geschichte zusätzlich spannend macht. Wie soll das zu einem guten Ende aufgelöst werden?!

Zum Ende des Buches The Mother’s Promise von Sally Hepworth stehen einem die Tränen in den Augen. Aber das Buch hat auch die Botschaft, dass selbst aus Unsäglichem noch etwas Positives entstehen kann. Schön dass ALice im klinischen und familiären Umfeld doch so umsorgt wurde. Es ist tröstlich, dass es in dieser Geschichte so viel Bewusstsein für den Betroffenen Menschen gibt.

Für mich waren alle Figuren sehr menschlich und nachvollziehbar dargestellt. Zoe ist trotz ihrer Ängste ein starker, entschlossener und bewundernswerter Charakter. Ein wertvolles, intensives Buch der Frauenliteratur, das einen auch nach dem Ende sicher noch einige Zeit begleitet.

5 von 5 Punkten
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A MOTHER'S PROMISE is a book about the importance of strength and the willingness to trust others when a crisis ensues. This novel is the definition of "it takes a village". The two main characters, Zoe and her mother, Alice, are suffering--Alice from cancer, and Zoe from a severe anxiety disorder. Two other characters, Kate, the nurse, and Sonja, the social worker, also suffer with their own issues.  It will require all three women to take care of Zoe, and in so doing, they find a reprieve from their suffering. 

While all the characters are strong, it is Zoe who is the real hero. She must overcome great obstacles in order to grow and change. Her anxiety is clearly felt early in the novel, so when she has even a minor victory, I wanted to stand up and cheer for her. 

A couple of things threw me off. Kate's relationship with her husband seems to sour very quickly after a personal tragedy. They were painted as such a strong couple, it seemed unlikely they would unravel so quickly. Sonja and her husband's presence in the same town as Zoe and Alice, especially given the history of his relationship with Alice, felt a little convenient to the plot; however, I was happy the way it ended. (I don't want to give any spoilers here.) 

Finally, that fact that Zoe's sweet boyfriend has Crone's disease (and occasional bouts with diarrhea) also seemed a little coincidental after Zoe's little "accident" during the debate. 

These are minor things. Overall, I think the emotional resonance of this book is strong, the characters well developed and the plot moves right along. Well done.
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This was an emotional book about a dying mother's love and devotion to her teenage daughter. The story is well written and the reader feels a bond with Alice, the mother. This deals with securing a stable home for Zoe when her mother is no longer alive. There is a shocking twist when Zoe's father is revealed. I would definitely recommend this book.
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