Newly divorced Rhonda, haunted by her sister Evelyn’s ghost, travels to an old palazzo in Rome to confront Marco, the man who stole her sister’s heart—only to find out he’s vanished in the wake of Evelyn’s death. Meanwhile, Rhonda’s nineteen-year-old daughter Olivia, adopted by Rhonda at birth, travels to the mysterious and lush waters of northern Vietnam, where she’s been summoned by the missing Marco—a man she only knows from her parents’ whispers, a man she has never met or seen.
Soon, truths are exposed and lives unraveled, and the real journey begins. Four lives in all, spanning three continents, are now bound together in an unfathomable way—and they tell a powerful story about love in all its incarnations, filial and amorous, destructive, but ultimately healing as a new notion of what it means to be family comes to the forefront.
“A globalized family tale of love, redemption, and healing, The Absence of Evelyn will challenge every reader’s understanding of what it truly means to love. Jackie Townsend’s staggering adventure proves that nothing – not time, heartbreak, distance or danger – stands a chance against the power of the heart. ―Redbook “20 Books By Women You Must Read This Spring”
“A careful examination of family ties with an international flavor…overall, this complicated family, full of ambitious women, makes a fresh impression.”— Kirkus Review
“A compellingly crafted story…filled with psychological insights into the actions of diverse, entwined lives…the absent Evelyn the pivot point of their dance.” ―Midwest Book Review
“The Absence of Evelyn is an enjoyable read for fans of coming-of-age stories and contemporary women’s fiction. It is a quick escapist read that is heartwarming and often inspiring.” ―Foreword Reviews
“The Absence of Evelyn is a powerful testimony to the value of love, in all its forms, but also a testimony to the need to let go, whether of one’s own carefully-laid plans or of a loved one. One by one, the characters see their masks, their old comfortable behavior patterns, and their secrets stripped away, leaving only the core of who they really are and what they really want . . . an engaging book, with well-drawn characters set in vivid context, and an engrossing and thought-provoking plot.” ―IndieReader
“Finish off cuffing season with the literary fireworks found in every single page of this magnificently told tale of love and every form it comes in.” ―PopSugar
“Townsend has a gift for propelling her quirky yet realistic, mostly lovable characters into unique settings and storylines. Reflecting today’s messy, modern families, The Absence of Evelyn captures―and keeps―your attention.” ―Curled Up