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Caroline Berry is lost at twenty-seven, living in New York -- not as the writer she once hoped to be but as an assistant at two part-time jobs. In an attempt to figure out a next step, she heads for Point Clear, Alabama, to spend several weeks relaxing at an old southern hotel on Mobile Bay -- unaware that it will soon lie in the direct path of Hurricane Ivan. Ignoring evacuation orders, Caroline hides out in the hotel and braves the storm alone. The next morning, she meets a mysterious man on the beach as he enters the churning water for a swim. He is Walker Galloway, a champion swimmer, which she discovers after learning of his disappearance in the newspaper. Realizing she is the last to have seen him, Caroline becomes entangled with his family and friends, and as she is gradually drawn in to Walker's world, she finds, at last, the story she was meant to tell. Point Clearis a compelling tale of one woman's quest for self -- who finds it only when searching for another.
Jennifer Paddock's incandescent debut novel spans fifteen years in the lives of friends Leigh, Sarah, and Chandler, beginning one fateful day in high school that forever connects them. While Leigh remains stuck in dead-end jobs in their Arkansas hometown, the more privileged Sarah and Chandler move to Manhattan, where Sarah seeks acting fame and Chandler struggles to make sense of her failed relationships, only to be sent reeling by an unexpected tragedy. Sweeping from the Deep South to New York and interweaving each girl's distinctive voice into a seamless narrative,A Secret Wordis a luminous story of friendship and family, sex and secrets, growing up and growing apart. It is about how well you can ever really know another person and the secrets we keep from our friends, our families, and, most important, ourselves.