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The Courage Tree
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Eight-year-old Sophie Donohue just wanted to be like every other little girl. Which is why her mother, Janine, reluctantly agreed to let her go on the weekend camping trip with her Brownie troop. But when Janine arrives to pick up Sophie after the trip, her daughter is not with the others. Somehow, along the forested route from West Virginia, Sophie has disappeared. But Sophie is no ordinary eight-year-old. She suffers from a rare disease, and Janine has recently enrolled her in an experimental treatment as a last effort to save her lifedespite the vehement objections of her ex-husband, Joe. Without her medication, Sophie cannot survive long. All her mother's instincts tell Janine that Sophie is alive, but time is running out. Deep in the Virginia forest, another drama unfolds. Sophie finds refuge in a remote cabin inhabited by Zoe, a woman who wants nothing to do with the child. Zoe is struggling to save her own daughter from the law, and Sophie's presence jeopardizes any chance of that happening. She is as determined to save her daughter as Janine is to save Sophieand only one of them can succeed. "
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A race against time to find a sick child lost in the West Virginia wilderness keeps pages turning in this suspenseful family drama by former psychotherapist Chamberlain (Breaking the Silence). Janine Donohue lives with her eight-year-old daughter, Sophie, on the Ayr Creek estate in Vienna, W.Va., a horticultural reserve operated by the descendants of the original owner. Janine's parents live in the main house, while Janine, a former Army Reserve helicopter pilot, and Sophie, who suffers from renal failure, live in the guesthouse. Despite resistance from her parents and ex-husband, Joe, Sophie is being treated with a new alternative herbal therapy, Herbalina, at the suggestion of estate horticulturist Lucas Trowell. The promising results have allowed Sophie to accompany her Brownie troop on a weekend camping trip. Joe blames Janine for Sophie's illness, believing it is a result of Gulf War syndrome, and disapproves of Sophie's trip. Sophie, her friend Holly and troop leader Allison travel in a separate car on the return journey, then an accident kills Holly and Allison. When the three don't arrive back with the rest of the troop, the police begin to search the dense West Virginia woods. Dazed, scared and weak without her medicine, Sophie manages to make it to a dilapidated cabin, where aging film star Zoe is hiding out. Zoe is awaiting the arrival of her daughter Marti, on the lam after a jailbreak, and Zoe is prepared to do anything to ensure her daughter's safety after many years of neglect. Meanwhile, Janine's parents and Joe suspect Lucas of foul play. Despite some cramped characterizations and too many narrative trails converging at once, this page turner will please those who like their stories with as many twists and turns as a mountain road. Multicity author tour. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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