When Cassie Wright, heir to the foremost company in a thriving New England town adopts a child she names Gwendolyn, she also keeps a very big secret of the child’s origins. Years later, once Cassie has established her abilities running the company and her daughter is in her teens, a jealous young woman turns their relationship upside down by what she reveals.
Jewel Fairchild is from humble origins, but her beauty is her ticket into the world she desires. But her envy and jealousy motivate many of her actions, and in the end, will these qualities be her ruination? When she tells Gwen the story of her birth parents, is she doing so innocently? Or is their a more powerful and dark emotion governing her actions?
For years, the lives of these three women continue to intersect in numerous ways until finally, years later, each of them arrives at various crossroads when decisions will move them in one direction or another, sometimes irrevocably altering each destiny.
Belva Plain’s characters are alive and real, with flaws and strengths, captivating the reader and pulling each of us in to these lives as they unfold. We root for one or another at certain points along the way, but the key to this story’s strength lies in how each character elicits our empathy. We can understand how and why they behave the way they do, as the author unveils back story over a period of time.
In the end, the women are all altered by their experiences, some of which have been horrific, but they stand tall in a newfound strength gleaned from their life lessons.
Crossroads is an absorbing and entangling tale of greed, jealousy, and betrayal, and earns five stars for me.