What Could Be Saved
Despite its hefty 464-page length, I finished most of this family drama in a single day. The Preston family moved from Washington, DC to Bangkok during the Vietnam War. When they returned home several years later nothing was the same—not in their country and not in their family, because while in Thailand their eight-year-old son had been kidnapped and was now presumed dead. This story opens with that boy's sister opening an email, a message from Thailand saying, <em>I think I have your brother. Will you come get him?</em> In dual timelines that span 47 years, the story probes the long-held secrets the Preston family members have been keeping, and their devastating consequences.
“A harrowing tale of the lies of omission and the lies of commission that can break a family apart,What Could Be Saved is a delicious hybrid of mystery, drama, and elegance: rich with detail, lush in language, and capable of keeping you on the edge of your seat.” —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light
Washington, DC, 2019: Laura Preston is a reclusive artist at odds with her older sister Bea as their elegant, formidable mother slowly slides into dementia. When a stranger contacts Laura claiming to be her brother who disappeared forty years earlier when the family lived in Bangkok, Laura ignores Bea’s warnings of a scam and flies to Thailand to see if it can be true. But meeting him in person leads to more questions than answers.
Bangkok, 1972: Genevieve and Robert Preston live in a beautiful house behind a high wall, raising their three children with the help of a cadre of servants. In these exotic surroundings, Genevieve strives to create a semblance of the life they would have had at home in the US—ballet and riding classes for the children, impeccable dinner parties, a meticulously kept home. But in truth, Robert works for American intelligence, Genevieve finds herself drawn into a passionate affair with her husband’s boss, and their serene household is vulnerable to unseen dangers in a rapidly changing world and a country they don’t really understand.
Alternating between past and present as all of the secrets are revealed, What Could Be Saved is an unforgettable novel about a family shattered by loss and betrayal, and the beauty that can exist even in the midst of brokenness.