In her engrossing second novel, The Possible World, Liese O'Halloran Schwarz (Near Canaan) gradually brings together the stories of three disparate characters in Providence, R.I.
Six-year-old Ben winds up in the emergency room when his best friend's birthday party ends in a horrific, violent way--with the other children, his friend's mother and Ben's mom all dead. When he finally speaks, he seems disoriented and insists his name is Leo. Lucy, unsettled from a recent separation from her husband, is the resident in charge of the ER when Ben comes in, and she is drawn to this small, scared, confused boy. She continues to visit him even after he is moved to Psych, where he remains for weeks. Across town, Clare is nearing 100 years old and finally decides, when she meets a new friend, that it is time to tell her life story with all its long-held secrets.
An emergency medicine doctor, Schwarz creates a realistic and compelling story of these three characters' intertwined lives that completely immerses the reader in their worlds. From Clare's earliest years as a child of the Depression to Ben and Lucy's current struggles to adjust to their new situations in life, this novel spans decades and holds many surprises. Tension builds as the threads slowly come together in a captivating and moving story of grief and loss and the power of love. --Suzan L. Jackson, freelance writer and author of Book By Book blog