The Center of the World (2016)
In New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Sheehan’s evocative and emotionally compelling novel, a mother and her adopted daughter each embark on a journey of self-discovery in the wake of a stunning revelation.
How do you keep a secret so huge that it could devastate everyone you care about? For Kate Malloy, the answer is simple: one lie at a time. That’s how she has protected her daughter for more than a dozen years, shielding her from a terrible truth. Sofia, a fifteen-year-old soccer star living in New England, believes she was born in Mexico and legally adopted by Kate. But a posthumous letter from her stepfather tells Sofia a different story—one of civil unrest and bloodshed, death-defying heroism and child-smuggling, harrowing sacrifice and desperate decisions.
Sofia’s trust in her mother is shattered. At last Kate must do what she knows is right—accompany Sofia back to Guatemala, the place where Kate found horror and heartache but also the greatest joy of her life. As mother and daughter confront the damage done by years of dangerous yet necessary deceptions, they discover how much love, hope, and happiness may still remain—if they have the courage to face their past.
“Sheehan’s writing is lively and vivid and her feel for historical detail is fine.” —The New York Times
“Sheehan uses her skills as both a psychologist and a writer to create a solid, insightful story.” —Kirkus Reviews
"Jacqueline Sheehan's striking new novel THE CENTER OF THE WORLD is a sure-handed exploration of grief and transcendence. I found these characters memorable, the story compelling, the author's ability to make place come alive on the page a rare gift. Sheehan is not a glib writer but one with a large heart, and her book is destined to win countless readers."
--Steve Yarbrough, Professor of Writing, Literature and Publishing Emerson College, author of The Realm of Last Chances
“How far would you go to save the life of a child? That’s what Kate Malloy, a young motherless environmental researcher must ask herself in this searing tale of love and desperate acts set against a backdrop of surreal beauty and unspeakable cruelty. Enthralling, exhilarating, THE CENTER OF THE WORLD is full of characters who must trust and love without any assurance that either will be returned. It’s a cinematic tale whose characters and their difficult choices will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.”
--Suzanne Chazin, award-winning author of the Jimmy Vega novels
“Jacqueline Sheehan’s riveting novel fuses family anguish, political drama and page-turning storytelling. I journeyed across Guatemala and back to the United States, long past bedtime, desperate to know the outcome of this unlikely clan. THE CENTER OF THE WORLD is a deeply satisfying read of the heroics and viciousness we rarely hear of—and choices we hope to never face. I loved this book.”
--Randy Susan Meyers, National Bestselling Author of Accidents of Marriage
“Thank you so much for the opportunity to read Jacqueline Sheehan's gorgeous upcoming novel. I was riveted. Set in alternating worlds of 2003 Massachusetts and 1990’s war-torn Guatemala, THE CENTER OF THE WORLD is an epic story of war and peace, love and fear, family and friendship. Writing with honesty and grace, Jacqueline Sheehan examines to what length we would go to protect those we love, reminding us that sometimes secrets must be unraveled before our hearts can mend. In turns heartbreaking and heartwarming, THE CENTER OF THE WORLD is the perfect book club selection—intelligent, thought provoking, and utterly captivating.”
--Lori Nelson Spielman, International Bestselling Author of The Life List
"The day I discovered novelist Jacqueline Sheehan marked a great moment in my reading life. In The Center of the World, her best book yet, Kate Malloy truly has a heart that is a compass, holding fast to true north as she searches for her daughter. Again and again, Sheehan finds new ways to prove to the world that mothers are the strongest people on earth, and will literally go to the ends of the earth to keep a daughter safe."
--Jo-Ann Mapson, Los Angeles Times bestselling author of Solomon’s Oak, Finding Casey, and Owen’s Daughter