Sixteen-year-old Sadie Rose remembers very little of the time before she went to live with the Worthingtons at age five; she knows that her mother died under mysterious circumstances that rendered her mute, but the details have long since been buried. Now it’s 1920, and the unexpected discovery of several photographs of her mother have Sadie experiencing long-repressed memories of living in a brothel, a frozen body, and two men covering up a crime. But what does it all mean? And what role, if any, does her foster father, Mr. Worthington, have in her mother’s death? Determined to find out, Sadie Rose leaves her comfortable home and heads off to learn more about the mysterious life and death of the woman in the pictures.
Though it’s fairly clear early on how this mystery will play out, author Casanova does a good job of pulling the reader into Sadie Rose’s confusion about the circumstances surrounding her mother’s death. There are memorable characters met along the way, including wealthy, unstable Trinity, who helps Sadie Rose hide as the past resurfaces, and Owen, who becomes a love interest. Mix in environmental issues and politics, and this young adult novel gives us a heroine who learns to trust her instincts and herself. A good, absorbing mystery.