IT’s the book everyone is talking about …
Nicole Baart’s new novel, LITTLE BROKEN THINGS (Atria) is an engrossing and suspenseful novel about a wealthy suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to unravel with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.
“I have something for you.”
When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it
Quinn hasn’t seen her sister, Nora, in months. When she shows up unexpectedly with a young girl named Lucy, Quinn is full of questions. They remain unanswered, however, when Nora hurriedly departs again, leaving the girl behind. Nora’s last statements ring in Quinn’s ears.
“Promise me you’ll keep her safe…. “
Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s request and care for the scared Lucy, she fears that Nora has gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.
Lake is a small, close-knit town where secrets are hard to keep, so it’s not long before Quinn’s mother, Liz, discovers Lucy hiding in the cottage Quinn and her artist husband are renting for the summer. Although somewhat distant and estranged from both her daughters, Liz becomes Quinn’s reluctant ally as they race to discover the truth about the little girl with the stone-colored eyes and cornsilk hair who’s landed in their lives.
Points of view shift between Nora, Liz and Quinn for a slow unveiling of the story behind Lucy and her mother, Tiffany, a high school friend of Nora. The tension continues as more details about the four women and the various men in their lives are added to the twisting plot line that spans a four-day period. Baart shows how these women have been affected and changed in subtle and large ways by the men, who carry the burden of some stereotypes, yet are distinguishable as individuals with their own sets of problems.
About Nicole Baart
Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER.
We were fascinated to learn that Nicole has five children from four countries, so we sent her some questions about the traditional American family and she gladly shared her answers.
CR: How has the traditional family changed over the years? Decades?
NB: Oh goodness. This is such a loaded question for me. I know that there is an ideal of the “traditional family,” but I’m not convinced that there is such a thing. The whole concept of a mom, dad, two kids, cute dog and a white picket fence doesn’t ring true for most (if not all) of the families I know. We have all been touched in some way by death, divorce, illness, abuse, addiction, loss, and so much more and I don’t necessarily think things that tear us apart are as different today as they were years or decades ago. My heart is for people and I consider so many sweet people my family! We don’t necessarily share blood or even a last name, but they are my brothers and sisters, my parents, my children. In my opinion, love makes a family
CR: How do you explain to your children how diversity forms a family?
NB: We embrace the fact that we come from different countries and a wide array of backgrounds. Our home is filled with artwork and music and traditions from all the countries represented. (United States, Canada, Ethiopia, Liberia and even the Netherlands – my husband’s parent were Dutch immigrants to Canada). We love diversity and consider ourselves global citizens with heart and passion for every corner of the planet. And while we embrace our differences, we also highlight our similarities. We love camping together, watching football and being active. We have dinner together every evening and spend time talking about everything from religion at the school lunch menu. We’re a pretty tight-knit group.
CR: What holidays do you celebrate? Does everyone have a common faith? Or celebrate various ones?
NB: We do have a common faith. My husband is the Dean of Chapel at a small, liberal arts Christian college in the Midwest. Our kids are passionate about their faith and we are very plugged into our church and community. As for holidays, we celebrate the big ones! Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, the 4th of July … but we sprinkle in holidays from all over the globe. Cinco de Mayo is a great reason to eat tacos and listen to mariachi music. Timket (an Ethiopian holiday celebrating the Epiphany or the baptism of Jesus) is something we observe when we remember it’s happening! And, of course, my kids love to draw for Halloween.
CR: Please explain the international adoption process. Is it difficult?
NB: International adoption is a very long and difficult process – and it should be. These kids deserve a stable, loving home and it simply takes time to establish that the families seeking adoption can provide the right environment for them. A family who is interested in international adoption will first fill out an initial application form. This form (and fee) will be processed by the adoption agency the family would like to work with. If the family is approved, they can begin the formal process. The first step is completing a home study through a social worker or adoption agency. This requires several face-to-face meetings, a psychological evaluation, and home visits. It can take weeks or months. Then the family will take several more weeks (months) to collect all the necessary documents for the dossier. The dossier includes original birth certificates, marriage licenses, background checks, FBI clearance, and so much more. Our dossier fits inside a 2-inch, 3-ring binder. When the dossier is approved it is sent to the country where the child is waiting to be adopted. I’m not entirely sure what happens there, but all the paperwork must be scrutinized before the family is approved to adopt. As for the child, it must be established that he or she is indeed an orphan in need of a loving home… All of this takes months, if not years. And when everything is finally done, the family must travel to bring their new child home. It’s a long, sometimes heartbreaking, agonizing process! By the end result is worth every year.
CR: Thank you so much Nicole. Your love, positive energy and absolute acceptance jump off the computer. Expect me, along with my bags to arrive on your front door in a few days.
Thanks to Nicole and Lisa at TLC Book Tours, we have one copy of LITTLE BROKEN THINGS to giveaway. Just tell us what family means to you. We’ll announce a winner soon.