From the author of the #1 bestseller Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas
Have you ever gotten a letter that changed your life completely? It happened to me once. I still can feel the urgency that overtook me as I opened the envelope and the hunger I felt for whatever that letter would say. It seemed as if my entire life hung in the balance as I read.
Sam's Letters to Jennifer is a novel about that kind of drama. In it, a woman is summoned back to the town where she grew up. And in the house where she spent her most magical years she finds a series of letters addressed to her. Each of those letters is a piece of a story that will upend completely the world she thought she knew - and throw her into a love more powerful than she ever imagined could be possible. Two extraordinary love stories are entwined here, full of hope and pain and emotions that never die down.
I hope you'll enjoy this novel as much as I've enjoyed writing it. It's not often that you get a letter that changes your life. But it should happen to everyone at least once.
REALLY BAD THINGS happen in threes, I was thinking as I arrived at the Lakeland Medical Center. Then I tried to banish the thought from my mind. Don't go there, Jennifer.
I got out of the car and started uphill to the main entrance. I remembered that many years before, I had been there to have a fishing hook removed from just above my eyebrow. I was seven at the time, and it was Sam who brought me.
Once I was inside, I tried to get my bearings, taking in the horseshoe-shaped ICU with patients' rooms on three sides. The head nurse, a thin, fortyish woman with pink-framed glasses, pointed out my grandmother's room. "We're so glad you're here," she said. "I enjoy your column, by the way. We all do."
"Thank you," I said, and smiled. "You're very kind. That's nice to hear."
I walked quickly down the corridor to Sam's room. I slid the door open and entered. "Oh, Sam," I whispered the second I saw her. "What happened to you?"
It was so awful to see the tubes in her arms and the banks of beeping medical equipment. But at least Sam was alive. Though she looked diminished and gray, and as fragile as a dream.
"It's Jennifer," I whispered. "I'm here now. I'm right here." I took her hand in mine. "I know you can hear me. I'll do the talking for now. I'm going to keep talking until you open your eyes."
After a few minutes, I heard the door slide open behind me. I turned to see the Reverend John Farley. His thick white hair was askew, his smile tremulous. He was still a handsome man, though stooped now. "Hello, Jennifer," he whispered, and welcomed me with a warm hug.
We walked out into the hallway and suddenly I was remembering how close he had been to my grandparents.
"It's so good to see you. What have you heard about Sam?" I asked.
He shook his head. "Well, she hasn't opened her eyes, and that's not a good sign, Jennifer. I'm sure Dr. Weisberg will have more to tell you tomorrow. I've been here most of the day, ever since I heard."
Then he handed me a key. "This is for you. Your grandmother's house."
He hugged me again, whispering that he had to get some sleep before he wound up there as a patient. Then he left and I slipped back into Sam's room. I still couldn't believe this had happened.
She had always been so strong, almost never sick, always the one who took care of everybody else - especially me. I sat for a long while just listening to her breathe, looking at her beautiful face, remembering all the times I'd come to Lake Geneva. Sam had always reminded me a little of Katharine Hepburn, and we'd seen all her movies together, though she vehemently denied there was any resemblance.
I felt so scared. How could I lose Sam now? It seemed as if I had just lost Danny. Tears began to stream down my cheeks again. "Shit," I whispered under my breath.
I waited until I got back some control and then I moved close to her. I kissed both of her cheeks and stared at her face. I kept expecting Sam's eyes to open, for her to speak. But she didn't. Oh, why was this happening?
"I'm going back to the house. Pancakes for breakfast," I whispered. "I'll see you in the morning. You hear me? I'll see you in the morning. First thing, bright and early."
One of my tears fell onto Sam's cheek, but it just trickled down her face.
"Good night, Sam," I said.
Copyright © 2004 by James Patterson
Anne Heche is an actor known for her work in film and television. Her movies include SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS, WAG THE DOG, DONNIE BRASCO, PSYCHO and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER. She won an Emmy playing twins on ANOTHER WORLD, and guest-starred on ALLY McBEAL. This is her third audiobook narration, after Stephen King's THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON and her own CALL ME CRAZY.
JANE ALEXANDER's distinguished acting career has included a Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway production of THE GREAT WHITE HOPE, an Emmy award-winning role in the TV movie, PLAYING FOR TIME, as well as six other Tony nominations. She has earned four Oscar nominations for her work in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, KRAMER VS. KRAMER, TESTAMENT, and the film version of THE GREAT WHITE HOPE.
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