Mary Grace Winters finally found a way to escape her abusive husband and reinvented herself as Caroline Stewart and moved to Chicago with her seven-year old son, now named Tom. For the next seven years, she managed to pull herself up by her bootstraps, with the help of a shelter and a kind employer, and create a happy and productive life. Caroline got her GED and went to work for the head of the history department at a small college. Following the death of the chair, a new history professor, Max Hunter, was hired and at his first appearance, both he and Caroline established an immediate connection, one that transcended employer/employee relations. Meanwhile, after seven years, Mary Grace's car was located in a lake in South Carolina, the contents of which cause her husband, Rob, to suspect she's alive. He becomes consumed with finding her but this has also caught the attention of the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI),who has always believed Rob murdered his wife and son. The story transitions between Caroline and Max's developing relationship, the SBI investigation and Rob's hunt for "Mary Grace" and his son. Rob is a sadistic and cruel man who is also a pretty bad cop but a skilled detective. The tension mounts as these three stories begin to intersect and the bodies start to pile up. Your pulse rate will increase as you begin to worry for some of the characters, knowing that there will be an eventual climax between the investigators, Caroline and Rob. Karen Rose has masterfully written a riveting story involving domestic violence and the triumph of the human spirit. Caroline isn't the only one in the story to rise above her circumstances. Max is recovering from a life altering and devastating accident from twelve years ago. Dana, Caroline's best friend and manager of a women's shelter, came out of an abusive marriage. The lead investigator, Steven Thatcher, is raising three sons on his own following the death of his wife. All are involved in the culmination of the confrontation with Rob. This is a great story, even though there's a whiff of the love-at-first-sight syndrome between Max and Caroline but the events that occur as their relationship develops more than compensate for their beginnings. Their trials and challenges are extremely realistic for two people that don't know each other very well. The police investigation is gritty and well researched. Much of the story is based in North Carolina and the author did her homework in representing the geography of the state.This is a must read and I plan to read a lot more from this author.