WITHIN a split second Gracie Thacker’s entire family ceased to exist, obliterated by a vicious teenaged murderer. Now, even Grace herself – “America’s sad little sweetheart” – has disappeared, leaving in her place an unrecognisable adult alter ego: creative writing graduate Graye Templeton.
As a nine-year-old eyewitness called on to testify in a high-profile trial, Grace was forced into hiding to escape a morbid public fascination with her tragic loss.
More than a decade later she has emerged as an anonymous, unremarkable young woman with no discernible past. Friendless and working as a teaching assistant in New York City, Graye is delighted to strike up an unlikely chance acquaintanceship with Laura West, a stylish, poised literary blogger whose husband David is a bestselling novelist.
When the Wests move to an island in Texas it seems the budding relationship between the two women will wither, but months later fate intervenes when Graye learns that a famous author in the same locality is recruiting. Seeking a professional reference from David she visits the couple and is quickly talked into working for Laura instead.
It’s Graye’s dream appointment: learning the publishing ropes from someone with influence, respect and a sharp eye for the ‘next big thing’ in books.
Sorting through the piles of unsolicited manuscripts delivered to Laura she decides to take the bold step of slipping a story of her own into the mix – and then waiting to hear her employer’s opinion of it. For Graye the pressure is almost unbearable. After all, her career prospects hinge solely on Laura’s reaction to the words on those pages, crafted on an old-fashioned manual typewriter and polished over and over through multiple drafts.
At the same time Graye is reacting to news of the killer’s release from jail. What will this mean for the future she has planned?