Georgia, 1968 – Margaret Rose McCutcheon has just buried her husband and must now name a beneficiary for their estate in case of her demise. She is hard-pressed to do so because there is no one. No children. No family. At least none to speak of. At one time, she had two sisters and six brothers, but the lot of them were scattered to the four winds, with no one knowing where the others went. In the hope of finding at least one of her siblings, Margaret hires a detective and sets off on a journey to uncover the truth of why the family broke apart as it did.
West Virginia, 1901 – When Eliza Hobbs gives birth to her sixth child, her husband is not there to welcome his daughter into the world. No surprise, because Martin is seldom there. He works in Charleston and returns to Coal Creek only when he has a mind to. Yes, he sends money on occasion, but seldom enough to make ends meet. Although Eliza believes each new child a blessing, he sees them as yet another responsibility on his already overloaded shoulders. When he discovers another child is on the way, he demands she get rid of it. he stops returning home and there is no more money.
Left with the children, a mountainside patch of land, and a house in sorry need of repair, Eliza seeks help and turns to someone powerful enough to hold sway over Martin and force him into providing for his family. Pushed to the brink, Martin does something unforgivable and the family is forever torn apart.
Now, after all these years, will Margaret be the one to find the pieces of her broken family?
When I Last Saw You begins with Margaret dealing with the loss of her husband, which includes going through paperwork and discovering interesting details of what her husband had tried to do for her. Curious about why he didn’t pursue the investigation he had started, she reaches out to the last investigator, Tom Bateman. He wasn’t that interested in pursuing the case, but when they met up, she was able to persuade him to try.
From that point on, we follow Margaret and Tom as they pursue the trail of clues leading them to possibilities they had never imagined. Would Margaret find her family? Would the connection that has developed between her and Tom turn into something more than the working relationship?
The story had sad and heartfelt moments, and I laughed, cried, and held my breath as I waited to see what would finally happen.
I loved this book, so of course it earned 5 stars.