In Search of Eden opens with several storylines: a nurse working a long shift with a pregnant sixteen-year-old patient whose mother insists on giving the child up for adoption; that same sixteen-year-old, now twenty-seven and still grieving for her lost child; an author involved in a highway accident; and a small-town policeman living in isolation, grieving the loss of an old love. The introduction of new characters continues with each new chapter until finally the lives entwine as the story comes together.
Dorrie has spent her adult life on the move, never staying in one place long enough to develop attachments - to feel loss. She carries around the deep reminder of loss with daily reminders of the child she didn’t get a chance to know, to love, to raise.
When Dorrie’s mother dies, she finds herself lost without the only purpose she seemed to have – to defy her mother. The few friends she has finally rescue her from her self-induced hibernation via an intervention. She is scheduled to meet with her mother’s lawyer, a counselor, and a hairstylist. Dorrie connects with the counselor, who speaks to her of her inability to form attachments and allows her realize she has choices in the way she lives her life.
Her counselors’ words began to resonate with Dorrie, and she begins to feel in control of her life. After a trip to the spa to get her hair and makeup done, she buys some new clothes, changes her name back to the one her father gave her – Miranda - and is set to start out a new life. Just as she is about to leave and continue on with her life of travel, her aunt drops off something she found in Miranda’s mother’s old secretary. Suddenly Miranda is faced with one small clue to the existence of her child: a picture, and with it the name of a town, Abingdon.
Miranda abandons her travel plans. Armed only with a ten-year-old picture and the name of a town, she makes her way to Abingdon. While she sets off to find her long-lost child, she soon finds herself in the midst of much, much more. She quickly finds a job, a place to live, and a life. With no real direction in the search for her child, she turns her search to that of her mother and the shock at what she finds. With her life deeply entwining with the lives of others, the truth begins to hit her and the biggest decision of her life needs to be made. Is she strong enough to make the right decision, or will she run as she has so many times before?
In Search of Eden is a heartwarming look at broken hearts, families torn apart, and the joy that comes with resurrection. It is a novel that will grip your heart as you quietly cheer for an outcome of joy and forgiveness. Linda Nichols does a fabulous job of quickly drawing the reader into the labyrinth of lives that unfold, bringing the engaging characters into the heart of the reader, who will be reluctant when they must eventually let them go. This is definitely a story that will resonate with readers. I look forward to reading many more of this author’s novels.