A Night on Moon Hill by Tanya Parker Mills is a suspense novel. It is also a story about a woman who is given an opportunity to make a different choice when faced with a situation similar to one she faced as a youth.
It begins when one of Daphne’s night swims in the dark leads to an encounter that changes her life.
“Daphne took her usual start place at the far side of the pool and sliced into the dark water. Six quick strokes, and she flipped to push off the wall for the return. Ninety-nine laps to go.
“She pulled at the water, deconstructing Reuben’s opening line in her mind with each lap.
“Merrick languished in the lazy afternoon sun. Flip turn.
“Merrick languished in the lazy afternoon. Flip turn.
“Merrick languished in the lazy. Flip turn.
“By the tenth lap, the classroom began to recede from her mind. By the fifteenth, the last memory of the evening’s unpleasantness sank below her consciousness. Buoyed by the night-cooled water, Daphne relished the pungency of chlorine and the familiar numbness spreading through her arms and legs.
“If she bowed to any god, it was the god of water—the pool his holy sanctuary, the daily swim her prayer. Water freed her, saved her from a society in which she felt ill at ease. In its liquid cold and calm, her oddities were masked or erased.”
Swimming is Daphne’s safe place—until “her right hand brushed against something midstroke.”
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That spine-tingling event is the catalyst to a chain of successive events during which ten-year-old Eric entwines himself into Daphne’s orderly life. Eric has Asperger’s Syndrome—a form of high functioning autism. Daphne adjusts to his demand for bologna sandwiches with ten Pringle chips every day for lunch , she allows for his passion for fishing—including his long recitation of fish varieties, but she has difficulty with crossing the barrier within herself to where she can reach out and hug Eric when he is hurt.
Beyond the conflict and adjustments that come from getting to know Eric, there is an evil that threatens both of them. But there is also a man who would love them both if she can let him into her life. Much like the fountain that Daphne encounters when she is in New York for book signings, her life is one of trying to defeat chaos while seeking peace.
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