Maya and Rebecca -- sisters, friends, doctors -- have a special bond that was created in the aftermath of the murder of their parents when both were teenagers. Wild and free-spirited older sister Rebecca takes on the burden of caring for and raising 14-year-old Maya when she is barely 18. Both go on to medical school and have very different lives as adult women. Maya is the quiet one; she's married to a fellow doctor named Adam, and they long for children. After suffering through a series of miscarriages, their marriage is faltering. Rebecca is deeply involved with a relief organization known as DIDA (Doctors International Disaster Aid) and lives her days ricocheting from tragedy to disaster all over the world. The sisters are very close and supportive of each other, all the while continuing to live in ways that support their self-created myth that Maya is the weak one and Rebecca is the strong one. The lies they tell each other, and the ones they hold in their hearts, are roiling beneath the surface calm of their lives.
After a third miscarriage, Maya is disconsolate. Adam is distant and shattered by a revelation that Maya makes in the doctor's office. When a hurricane hits the North Carolina coast, he signs on immediately and joins Rebecca at a makeshift airport infirmary where they are inundated with more sick and injured than they can handle. Both urge Maya to come help in the relief efforts, and against all odds, she shows up! Unfortunately, while on a transport mission, the helicopter that she is riding in crashes into a flood zone and there is no sign of her at the site.
Believing Maya dead, Rebecca and Adam become closer than ever in their shared grief. But something changes between them. Meanwhile, the injured Maya is held on a piece of land that is surrounded by water, with no way off the island, and a fear that her rescuers might not have her best intentions at heart.
The sisters learn more about themselves and then the pieces of their shared history begin to unravel as each starts a journey of self discovery. Rebecca and Maya will never be the same.
I thought the book was great until the last couple of chapters. I liked the character of Maya much more so than the persona of Rebecca -- for various reasons. I don't feel that the pat ending that the author wrote (and by the way she is one of my favorite authors) rang true and it really irritated me. I'd be interested to hear if other readers felt it was too contrived and unbelievable to them as well.
In any event, if you can get past the ending, you'll enjoy the book. I'd still recommend it.