Annie Peregrine Goode has a dilemna. What does an adult child owe to their parents, especially when those parents were bad ones? Annie's father, Jack, dropped her off with her aunt when she was seven and didn't come back. Jack is a major con artist, wanted by the police in several states and countries. Annie was raised by Sam, her aunt, and Clark, her aunt's best friend. She grew up and became one of the top pilots in the Navy. After a failed marriage, Annie returns home for a visit only to find out that her father is dying and asking for her help. Should she go to his rescue?
Not sure if Jack is even really dying, Annie goes to find out what is going on. Jack is in the midst of what he considers his crowning con. He claims to have a sixteenth-century golden Madonna, which was lost in a shipwreck and now worth millions. The Catholic Church is interested, but so is the local mob in Miami, which Jack has crossed. Add in the fact that Cuba wants the statue as a national treasure, and it seems that the cross-currents and loyalties are so tangled that they may never get unwound.
Annie also has another reason for going to see Jack. He has always refused to tell her who her birth mother was, and it is the final piece of her history that Annie needs to make peace with her life. How she helps Jack, finds love, and discovers the true meaning of family is the crux of this wonderful novel.
I really enjoyed this book. Malone is one of my favorite authors, and this book does not disappoint. I loved Annie's strong character. Subordinate characters such as her ex-husband, her new love, her best friend, and even a nursing home adminstrator are well thought out and portrayed. Characterization is Malone's strong point, but there is plot and subplot aplenty. As a Southern woman myself, I can attest that he gets the ambiance of the South dead on. This book is recommended for anyone wanting a great read or interested in family relationships.