Girl at the End of the Line
Molly O’Hara’s young sister Nell is beautiful, spirited, and sweet, and the fact that she hasn’t spoken for the last seventeen years–since she was eight–certainly doesn’t reflect on her intelligence. After all, it’s Nell who does the books for Enchanted Cottage Antiques, which she and her sister operate jointly. Truth is, Nell was home alone with their mother when the woman was murdered, and from that day forward Nell hasn’t spoken. She understands, she can make herself understood; it’s just that she doesn’t utter a word.
Rummaging in boxes at a tag sale, Nell comes across an old New York theater Playbill that will change the girls’ lives. It will break the monotony of their rather lonely existence in the small North Carolina town from which they have never ventured–and will also shatter the peace they’ve managed to achieve there. It will send them rocketing to New York, to England, and to New England, in search of a family they didn’t know they had. And it will introduce them–and the reader–to as zany a group of relatives as ever bickered over a dog show or a fortune.
The cover of the program bears a photo of a lovely young actress in her first big part on the New York stage. And amazingly, the woman is their crusty old grandmother. But when they rush to question the old woman, they arrive to find that she has baffled the medical staff, who saw no reason to expect it, by dying in her bed.
The sisters, and especially Molly, who is more stubborn and “goal-oriented” by nature, realize that somewhere they have a family. But in their town, the only sources of information are their stepfather, whom they almost never see–and he can’t, or won’t tell them much–and their natural father, who is married to a wealthy society woman and is embarrassed by his somewhat unconventional offspring and eager to shoo them away. So they determine to go off on a search of their own.
Their travels bring adventure and exhilaration as they have the new and wonderful experience of seeing New York and London and meeting such exotic fauna as professional actors. But it also brings tragedy as “accidents” occur around them, starting with a fatal explosion in their house when they are away. These are dauntless young women, though, and charming ones, and the reader will very much enjoy going along with them on their eye-opening journeys, and will root for them all along the way.