It’s not often a book comes along that is set in a treehouse.
In Jean Reynolds Page's "Safe Within,” Elaine Forsythe has brought her husband, Carson, back to her North Carolina childhood home, a fanciful treehouse built by her unorthodox parents, to spend his last days as he battles pancreatic cancer.
Along with her son Mick and her aunt Linnie, Elaine only wants to make her beloved’s final days as comfortable and easy as possible. The only fly in the ointment is her mother-in-law, Greta.
Greta has never forgiven Carson for marrying Elaine and has never acknowledged Mick as her grandson, and now that Carson is dying, she still refuses to fulfill that last request. As the family deals with their grief, secrets resurface, and everyone is forced to face the past that threatens to tear apart their futures.
While Elaine and Mick come to grips with their loss, they are forced to acknowledge that Greta needs their help, despite her furious objections. Her eyesight is gone due to macular degeneration, and Greta has been dependent on her companion/housekeeper Mattie for everything from providing meals to making sure her clothing doesn’t clash. But when Mattie suffers a debilitating stroke, Greta is forced to lean on her daughter-in-law more than she cares for.
Through the new bounds of a cautious relationship, Greta soon learns that maybe the resentments she has harbored for all these years have been misplaced. Maybe the future holds a new beginning for everyone in the Forsythe family, if only they will listen to their hearts.
Page taps into the Southern respect for families with this novel and has crafted a story that will touch readers' hearts as well as entertain them with a well-told tale.