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The Shadow of Your Smile Hardcover – April 13, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 335 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When a deceased nun, Sister Catherine, becomes a candidate for sainthood in this gripping thriller from bestseller Clark (Just Take My Heart), Monica Farrell, a 31-year-old Manhattan pediatrician, becomes the target of those who don't want her to inherit what's left of a fortune created by her unknown grandfather, Alex Gannon, with whom Catherine had a secret love child before she took up holy orders. That child, given up for adoption, became Monica's father. Monica must now testify whether two boys became cancer-free due to prayers to Sister Catherine so she can qualify for beatification. Meanwhile, Olivia Morrow, Catherine's 82-year-old dying cousin, ponders whether to tell Monica she's Alex's granddaughter. Clark skillfully mixes spiritual questions with down and dirty deeds as she reveals Gannon Foundation funds have been steadily siphoned off by greedy heirs and associates who will stop at nothing, even murder, to keep their criminal misbehavior under wraps. (Apr.)
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About the Author

Mary Higgins Clark’s books are worldwide bestsellers, with more than 100 million copies sold in the U.S. alone. Visit her on the web at MaryHigginsClark.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439172269
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439172261
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (335 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #835,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By la plume d'une femme VINE VOICE on April 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Shadow of Your Smile, the latest thriller from Mary Higgins Clark, is in almost every way typical of her previous books. I want to say right away that I enjoyed it, much more than her last book as a matter of fact. MHC raises some interesting points concerning the natural conflict between faith and science in this one.

Dr. Monica Farrell, a pediatrician with a successful practice in New York, doesn't know her father's birth mother was a woman who later took vows and is now being considered for sainthood. Miracles of healing have been attributed to Sister Catherine, her grandmother, including one involving a patient of Monica's with terminal brain cancer. Dr. Farrell is no longer a practicing Catholic and considers herself to be a scientist first and foremost. To her, miracles are simply events that will have a logical explanation some time in the future.

The man who fathered Catherine's child was an inventor whose patents provided an enormous income he willed to "any issue" of his, not knowing what had happened to the child Catherine bore in secret. The default heirs are two brothers whose greed and dishonest business practices have resulted in the necessity for multiple murder to keep their house of cards from collapsing. After the suspicious death of a close friend of Dr. Farrell's, one who was trying to help her find her father's parents, Monica is marked to be the next victim.

As with all other MHC books, there is no bad language, no descriptions of heavy sex or blood or violence, although obviously bodies do turn up - proof that a good thriller doesn't have to commit assault and battery on the senses. The female characters, whether eighteen or eighty-eight are all lady-like, dress conservatively, drink pots of tea and come from solid Catholic families.
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Format: Hardcover
When 82-year-old Olivia Morrow receives the news that she is dying and has little time left, she must make a big decision. Many years ago, her deceased cousin Catherine, who became a nun, had a big secret. And Olivia has letters in her possession that confirm the details of the fact that, at age seventeen, Catherine gave birth to a baby boy, whom she subsequently put up for adoption. The child's father, Alex Gannon, went on to become a world-famous doctor, scientist, and inventor holding medical patents.

Just to complicate things a bit further, this same nun is being considered for "beatification" because of alleged miracles she has performed, by healing terminally ill children.

Meanwhile, also living in New York City is Dr. Monica Farrell, daughter of that same child, completely unaware that she is the only living "issue" of that famous man. His other relatives--nephew, etc.--are squandering the fortune and are involved in nefarious activities. Unaware of the possible connection between them, Dr. Farrell is being called upon to "testify" as to the medical facts and supposed miracle that healed one of her patients, all in support of the sainthood of this nun.

So the scene is set. What will Olivia do? And what will certain others do to keep the truth from coming to life?

Through the pages and chapters, which I am rapidly turning as the suspense builds, we see glimpses of each of these characters and watch as events speed up and tensions heighten, while lives hang in the balance--literally. I enjoyed the way the author pulled in supposedly incidental characters and created unique circumstances that would help bring down the house of cards built by the unworthy characters, somehow forestalling disaster.
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Format: Hardcover
MHC is becoming so increasingly formulaic that she could probably dash these things off in her sleep. Or maybe she actually does. The characters (and there are far too many of them) are unbelievable (woman who had an illegitimate child becomes a nun and is--after death, of course--on the path to sainthood), dialogue is stilted (Who in New York ever calls that state across the Hudson "New Jersey"? It's "Jersey."), and errors and typos are rife. Clark always thanks her director of copyediting, but heaven knows why; a number of quotes begin but never end, at least one time an adult character's name in dialogue is substituted for another, and there is a reference to a biblical episode that does not in fact exist.
Save your money and your time.
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MHC fans should skip this one because it is a mess. Whoever actually wrote this novel had no idea of how to move the plot forward and, worse, how to bring it to a satisfying conclusion.

I had zero interest in the main character. Its just another one of MHC supposed sympathetic "heroines" except there is little reason to sympathize with her. Instead, it is a seemingly minor character that is redeemed at the end. I didn't know who to root for and, by the end, I really didn't care.

There are too many disjointed plot elements: out of wedlock pregnancy, religious miracles, financial scandal, blackmail, murder...and on and on.

Finally, as others have noted, it is poorly edited and fact-checking was non-existent. Everyone involved with this novel should be embarrassed.
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