Missing Pieces


How far and fast does one have to run in order to escape their past? Lillianne Ferguson thought she’d left her past far behind when she left Delaware for Oregon, changed her name from Emma, and carved out a new life for herself. She married and started a beautiful family of her own, hundreds of miles away from the place of abuse and hatred she knew. Twenty years later, her brother, Greg, phones and once more her long-buried past comes back in a landslide of memories. What starts as a very painful decision for Lillianne leads to a very painful story, but one with the chance for forgiveness and redemption.

This is a powerful, dark, and richly beautiful story! It’s riveting and full of strong emotions and angst, with no easy answers. The story focuses on Lillianne/Emma and her father, Calvin Miller. The reader gets to know Calvin as a young boy, desperate to be loved by his alcoholic dad. Readers follow Calvin into adulthood, where he marries and has Greg and Emma/Lillianne and fights in WWII. Returning home a disabled vet, he turns to alcohol and becomes his father: an abusive drunk. Finally, he is the old man Lillianne returns to see: a cripple, barely hanging on in the hospital. She came prepared to hate him now as she hated him then. Through his stories, she sees him differently. Readers also experience Lillianne’s life, as an abused child and the steps she’s taken to put that tragic, dark past behind her—only to return. This story offers fantastic imagery, painting lovely scenes, even when the scenes are bittersweet or full of humanity’s ugly side. 

Emerson Matthews