Two families live next door to each other in a quiet town just outside New York City. Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are both police officers and want the American dream. A few kids, a yard and dinner on the table when they get home from a long shift. Francis’s wife Lena quickly has three girls and it takes every ounce of her energy to get through the day. Anne, Brian’s wife watches her closely and pushes away any attempt at friendship. After an awful lot of bad luck Anne finally has a little boy Peter and he and Kate, the youngest daughter next door, become the very best of friends. Becoming a parent does not warm Anne to Lena. The close friendship their children share she deems as suspicious and threatening. Obviously unstable and equally unhappy Anne’s act of violence years later is both unimaginable and unforgivable tearing the families completely apart. Peter and Kate are only 14 when their world is torn to pieces. Years pass and as destiny unravels, Peter and Kate find each other again. The difficult choices they repeatedly have to make are painful and will either set them on a path to freedom or destruction. Deep, complicated family dynamics. This realistic novel is beautifully written but sad and often hopeless. Even though the threads of love are strong, the alcoholism and mental illness is extremely depressing. Great writer, difficult book to recommend.