What Happened to Hannah by Mary Kay McComas is one of those truly satisfying novels that engages both your heart and your imagination from beginning to end.
Hannah Benson fled her abusive home as a teenager and has worked hard to move past the pain and dysfunction that defined her early life. Now the owner of a small insurance company, she is surprised one day by a phone call informing her that her mother and sister are both dead, leaving a niece, Anna, to her care. Joe, her mentor and former boss, pushes her to return to a town she had planned never to see again and to at least meet Anna before making a decision, so Hannah reluctantly makes the trip back to Clearfield.
In Clearfield, we meet a cast of characters, featuring Anna and her best friends Cal and Lucy, children of Hannah’s first love, Grady Steadman. Grady’s mother is also a fixture in their lives – as she has helped raised his kids since their mother took off years ago. Although Hannah arrives with a plan to clean out the house and move Anna to Baltimore within two weeks, she finds herself torn between her need to escape the place where she endured so much pain and Anna’s evident desire not to miss out on her upcoming track meets, as well as the high school prom.
Even as she allows the present day drama to unfold, McComas artfully weaves in Hannah’s memories of her childhood and adolescence, often showing the same event from Grady’s perspective as well as Hannah’s. As they gradually come to trust each other again, the truth about the circumstances surrounding Hannah’s disappearance also begin to emerge from the shadows, testing their tenuous relationship.
I truly enjoyed this novel. Despite the serious subject matter, I found myself picking up the book at every opportunity to find out more of the story and see What Happened to Hannah.
A galley copy of this book was provided by William Morrow Publishing. See what else Trish has been reading at her blog, In So Many Words.