Journalist and suburban mom Claire Cooper suffers from panic disorder. Most of her anxieties seem irrational, nothing that can't be fixed with the help of some Xanax. But late one stormy summer night, when her husband, Sam, is away on one of his frequent business trips, Claire's fears come to life. She discovers an intruder has broken into her young daughter's bedroom. She watches helplessly as he picks up her sleeping child from her bed. Desperate to protect her family, Claire puts herself in the line of fire and utters the plea that will undo her: "Take me instead."
As she drives away in the kidnapper's car, Claire fears for her children, but not for herself. And she can't help noticing the reversal in her marriage -- for the first time in ten years, Sam will not know where she is.
For the next week, Claire is tied to a bed in a strange motel room, the intruder her only com-panion. She is forced to lie still and contemplate the reasons for this assault on her family. Is this just a random crime, or something more sinister? Has the shadowy past that she tried so hard to leave behind finally caught up with her? Day after day, she goes deeper into herself, reevaluating her marriage and her role as a mother, and unburying the source of her crippling anxiety. In seven days she will step out to the very brink of her soul -- perhaps never to return.
A riveting debut novel that will appeal to fans of Sue Miller and Janet Fitch, Standing Still is a powerful exploration of the darker side of mother-hood and marriage.
What mother wouldn't sacrifice herself for her child? In Simmons's electrifying debut, the answer is delivered through the harrowing ordeal of a mother held for ransom by an anonymous kidnapper. A former globetrotting journalist now working for a Midwest TV station, Claire has a comfortable life with her husband, Sam, a successful co-owner of a PR/marketing firm, and their three young daughters, but she's unhappy with Sam and struggles with a secret past. On one of the frequent nights Sam isn't home, an intruder crashes through the skylight of the couple's newly renovated house. The man planned to kidnap their oldest girl, but Claire persuades him to take her instead. An intense bond develops between Claire and her abductor, a widower mourning the loss of his wife, during the eerie seven-day odyssey that follows. As Claire waits for the ransom to be paid, she faces some hard truths about the choices everyone makes that sometimes require lies to endure. The perfect read for a stormy night, Simmons's suspenseful tale contains nary a wasted word. (Feb.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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February 04, 2008
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Excerpt from Standing Still by Kelly Simmons
Racine, April 1977. A Polaroid with white edges. My Easter dress is robin's egg blue; it ripples against the church's red door like a flag. My father said it made my eyes look turquoise. He's not in the frame, but I know he's still alive and in front of me, taking the picture; not because I remember, but because the sky is dark and the March wind is whipping my long hair against my lips, bending the saplings next to the church, and yet I still look so completely, utterly unafraid.