The Ghost Daughter
In 1971, a wounded young man runs with his daughter in the woods at night. As he collapses, he tells the little girl to run, and she does. Eighteen years later, in October 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake buries twenty-two- year-old Angel Kelley under a collapsed building. Her adoptive mother Judith is diagnosed with cancer while her deepest secrets surface in national news. In nearby Silicon Valley, Reese Camden loses her husband in an accident that kills him and critically injures their five-year- old daughter Madison.
As news images of Angel’s rescue emerge, Detective Laura Redleaf recognizes Judith from an unsolved missing child case. She travels to Santa Cruz and learns from Judith that Reese is actually Angel’s biological mother Teresa, who has always known that Judith had her child. But Teresa has already fled and reinvented herself yet again, leaving her second daughter Madison in the hospital. Facing a kidnapping charge, Judith refuses medical treatment and bars Angel from visiting her in prison.
For life to move forward, Teresa must reclaim her identity and confront her terrible past. In the end, it will take more than tons of rubble to crush the spirits of these four strong-willed women as they fight for their families, seek redemption, and find love.
Maureen O’Leary is a writer and educator from Sacramento. She is the author of the novels How to Be Manly, The Arrow, and Coffeetown Press’ summer 2016 release The Ghost Daughter. She is the winner of Heyday Books’ Sacramento Valley Writing Contest for Poetry, and her work will be included in a forthcoming book about the people and environment of the region. Her short stories and poetry appear in the publications of Esopus, Night Train Journal, Brackish Vol. 2, Revolution John, Prick of the Spindle, The Gold Man Review, and in Shade Mountain Press’ anthology The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women.