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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2010-01-26
  • Publisher: Dell
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No one explores the rich tapestry of the human heart as Belva Plain does. Her more than twentyNew York Timesbestsellers have captivated readers and garnered legions of devoted fans. Now Plain dazzles us once again with a new novel of rare eloquence and raw emotion...a powerful tale about the consequences of greedand the acts of love and forgiveness that can heal the heart. Cassie Wright never saw it coming. As owner of Wright Glassworks, the foremost company in a thriving New England town, Cassie's life was quiet, focused on her work and home...until a tragic accident turns her carefully ordered world upside down. For there is a surviving child to think aboutand Cassie must take in one-year-old Gwen, who has no one else to care for her. As the years pass, Cassie will raise Gwen as her own, and a little girl who lost everything will flourish in a world of privilege and opportunity. Enter Jewel Fairbanks. Beautiful and conniving, Jewel will touch the lives of both Cassie and Gwen in powerful ways. From the moment they meet, Jewel envies Gwen, who seems to have everything Jewel wants. The two couldn't be more different, but their lives will soon become inextricably intertwined. Both will marrybut to profoundly different men. For Gwen, it is honest, hardworking Stan who steals her heart; Jewel will set her sights on Jeff, a shrewd businessman who owns the company where Stan works. But when Stan makes a shocking discovery on the job, relationships begin to shift and change...and soon a tangled drama of greed, jealousy, and betrayal will encircle both couples, as a chain reaction of unexpected events changes four lives foreverin ways they never could have foreseen.... From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography

Belva Plain lives in northern New Jersey. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Evergreen, Random Winds, Eden Burning, Crescent City, The Golden Cup, Tapestry, Blessings, Harvest, Treasures, Whispers, Daybreak, The Carousel, Promises, Secrecy, Homecoming, Legacy of Silence, Fortune’s Hand, After the Fire, Looking Back, Her Father’s House, and The Sight of the Stars.

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter One

If the gray clouds in the sky had not suddenly split apart and released an explosion of rain, Jewel Fairchild would have chosen to walk back to the train station on the shady road between two walls of green shrubs and trees. It was really amazing that such peace and quiet could exist not many miles from the crowded streets where she lived and worked. But had this entire day not been amazing?

Cassandra Wright, the owner and CEO of Wright Glassworks, had been riding her horse and, having come too close to a fence post, had hurt her leg. She would have to stay at home for a few days—an unheard-of occurrence at the Glassworks, where her dawn-to-dusk work ethic was legendary. Her efficient secretary had spent most of the day on the phone, as Mrs. Wright was directing the business from her home. (Even though Cassandra had been married twice, she insisted on being called Mrs. Wright because Wright was the name of her ancestors and her business, and the politically correct Ms. was way too trendy for her taste.) When it was discovered late in the afternoon that an important paper required the CEO’s signature, Jewel, who was a receptionist at the Glassworks, had been summoned by her supervisor and told to hand-deliver the document to Mrs. Wright’s home. Although to call the place a “home” was to understate so totally the grandeur, the dreamlike otherworldliness of it, it was almost funny.

Of course Jewel had known that Mrs. Wright and her family wouldn’t live in a hut, but she’d never seen anything like what she’d seen today. Now, as she leaned her head back on the seat of the car in which the Wright family gardener was driving her back to town, she went back over every moment of the last few hours, trying to fix them in her memory forever.

First there had been the train trip out of Wrightstown, the busy city that was named for the glassworks that gave it its reason for being. Cassandra Wright didn’t live near her business—of course not. She lived out in the country where the air was pure and the nights were quiet. There was a special spur off the main train track with a station at the end that serviced the area. Jewel had walked from the train station—it hadn’t started raining yet—and after about fifteen minutes, she’d approached a big white house gleaming in the gray gloom of the day.

Inside the house everything gleamed too. A woman who identified herself as the housekeeper had answered the door and led Jewel into the foyer, where she had a quick impression of glossy furniture, silk, crystal, and photographs in silver frames. Light sparkled from a chandelier above her; on a wall opposite a sweeping staircase there was a huge painting by some artist with a French name. The housekeeper had said the name, but Jewel had been too busy taking in all the splendor to register it.

The housekeeper led her through a series of hallways and rooms—more rooms than anybody would think one family could use. In the main hall a clock chimed like music. A rare treasure this clock was, according to the housekeeper. But by then Jewel was beginning to realize that the word “treasure” described everything in this place.

At first she was too overwhelmed to do more than stare. But slowly, a need started to grow inside her to touch what she was seeing. As the housekeeper hurried her along, she dug a foot into the carpet to feel the depth of the silky nap; she allowed a finger to trace the back of a richly brocaded chair. If she could have, Jewel would have inhaled all of it; she would have done anything, anything to take all this gleaming beauty inside herself, to own it, just for one second.

* * *

There was only one object in the place that did not seem to gleam. Actually, she wasn’t an object, she was a young girl, and she was sitting on a sofa reading a book. She, her

Excerpted from Crossroads: A Novel by Belva Plain
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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