Can a family survive the disappearance of a child?
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The book jacket will tell you that this is the story of the Preston family told against the backdrop of two eras and two countries. The reader is either in Washington DC with the family in 2019 or in Bangkok, almost 50-years prior, in 1972. The family does not know it, but the reason they are in Thailand is that the father, Robert, is an American intelligence officer doing work on the Vietnam war. Another family secret is that the mother, Genevieve, is having an affair with Robert’s boss.
There is a major difference between the two settings beyond culture and calendar. In Bangkok, they are a family of five, while in the United States, there are only four Prestons. It seems there is a brother who disappeared in Thailand all those years ago.
As the book opens, Robert is long deceased. Genevieve, perhaps mercifully, is slipping into dementia after years of going to Thailand when false sightings of her son came to her attention. The eldest child and the youngest are Beatrice and Laura. They are often at odds with each other.
It is on the third page of the novel that Laura gets an email message: “I believe I have found your brother Philip. Are you Laura Preston born on 25 March 1965 to Robert and Genevieve Preston? If so, please reply.”
Is it truly Philip? If it is, where has he been for all of these years? Does Robert’s work in espionage have anything to do with anything? What about Genevieve’s extra-marital dalliance? After losing a brother, shouldn’t the two sisters be close emotionally? What’s the story there?
There are oh-so-many questions. Thanks to the fact that this is such a compelling read – a page turner – the reader will quickly have all the answers.
As for me, I wondered about the book’s title and I liked when the author made a specific reference to it. But beyond that, I liked reviewing the entire book with the title in mind. In such a horrible family situation, what would each of the characters have to say if asked the question: What Could Be Saved?
Indeed, can anything be saved, or is all lost?