Again, thanks to those pretty good PR people at FMcM Associates in London, I have read a novel I'd otherwise have missed. Three Weeks to Say Goodbye from C. J. Box, an award winning writer in the US, is a story based on something that happened to friends of the author. It's available in the UK from Corvus, the Grove Atlantic imprint on 1 December. So, what's it all about?
With a sound marriage, there was only one thing that escaped Jack and Melissa McGuane for a few years: parenthood. Eventually they decide to adopt and the beautiful baby that is Angelina comes into their lives. They now have a daughter; a daughter to whom they have bonded. But when Angelina is nine months old they discover that the dottings and crossings did not take place to the required level for their adoption. Angelina's father did not sign away his parental rights. More to the point, the biological father is but an eighteen year old and his father is a federal judge who wants to 'do the right thing' and see responsibility being taken. Enter Judge John Moreland and his son Garrett with the best offer they can make as the law is on their side: the McGuanes have 'Three Weeks to Say Goodbye' to their adopted daughter Angelina.
Just how far will the parents go to save their status quo, to save their happy family unit of parental love? Very far in this case and to the level of the unexpected; but who knows how that base love can motivate? They enlist friends for help and are suddenly swept up in the confluences of the law, including its meeting with the illegal. But the crux of the matter is – and because as a reader, you really do care – what is the outcome for this beautiful and innocent baby? Can and will she be saved, to remain in her loving home?
Three Weeks to Say Goodbye had me turning the pages into the late night, so much did I want to know what happened. I may have fallen asleep, but it's the book I reached for after the necessary specs when I woke up the following morning. All for those last pages.
It's a 'chase' novel, but then, the title says it all, delivering what you expect on the label. It was as addictive as food in terms of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It left me wondering about adoption procedures in the US and how their laws impact. Not a novel of depth psychologically, alas, but a page-turner to meet the best. You can't help but be compelled to read more, to the very last page. And what an original premise.