Hush Now Baby: Cheryl Bradshaw
A child cries out for his mother. A young mother prepares to calm him down. A sad opening to a terrifying situation as Serena Westwood attempts to quiet down her child, prepares a warm bottle, finds herself within arm’s distance of her child’s room and enters to a sight that would rock more than just her world. What do you do when you find your child in the arms of a strange that warns you against stopping him from taking him away from you. What do you do when you enter and the crib is empty and your child is ripped from your life? Serena Underwood pleaded with her captor and her child’s kidnapper up until she was silenced and said her final goodbye.
Finn was adopted and someone decided to kill his mother leaving Jack, his adopted father more than just grieving but over the edge, drunk and refusing to allow anyone inside his home to help him. Family members tried until his mother finally arrived but things would heat up like simple flame that turned into a wildfire before all was said and done. Did the birth mother decide that since she never wanted to give him up in the first place to try and get him back? Enter Cade McCoy and Sloan Monroe whose methods might seem unorthodox but whose hearts were in the right place. Hush Now Baby: Cheryl Bradshaw the terror has just begun.
Sloan has been dealing with many different issues since her last case and although she has feelings for Cade she tabled them and her job as an investigator as well. Going to Cade’s to regroup and rejuvenate, she never expected to get involved in a case that the Police Chief objected she become involved in. Sloan is honest, straightforward and speaks from the hip you might say and although the Police Chief did not want her present when he spoke with Cade, his loyalty and feelings for her won out and the chief had no choice but to relent. Why did Cade want her there and would she help him find Finn? Remembering her past, her sister’s murder, several miscarriages and not being able to solve a kidnapping, she blames herself for every misfortune that happened to others and has yet to cope and deal with Cade, his feelings for her and her own self-worth.
Torn between leaving and helping Cade she becomes involved in the case meeting with the parties involved and then learning more about Hannah the birth mother. Tough, hard nosed and not allowing anything to deter her, she and Cade soon learn that Hannah, the birth mother is in deep trouble not only does she need medical help she needs to be protected from her abusive father.
In order to find Finn Cade and Sloan have to find the child’s birth mother, which leads them into a tangled web of lies, abuse, deceit and eventually tragedy. Sloan cannot seem to connect with her own life in a positive way. At times her self-esteem and self-worth come into question. Guilt plagues her as she reflects back on the death of so many close to her that she thinks she failed. Losing Finn would take her down even more and the feeling of failing would hang over her head again. Constantly reflecting on the world, facing a society that she fells is corrupt, hiding from the world, taking a break from her job and family was he way of dealing with adversity and strife.
Cade is probably the best thing that could ever happen to her. Patient, understanding and wanting to help her become the true person that he knows lies hidden beneath the tough exterior. Friends come to her aid, Maddie an ME helps keep her centered at times but it is Sloane herself that needs to look deep within her to decide what she wants and where she is going.
Meet Hooker the ME quite a colorful figure as he does the autopsy on Serena, explains how she was killed and a surprise twist that no one expected. Enter Danny and Hannah the child’s birth parents and listen to their stories. Danny did not want Finn and although Hannah did, the end result was giving the child up for adoption. A father that covers for his son and a mother who was kept in the dark as we meet Hannah and her parents, Ann and Aaron. Aaron is controlling, frightening and hateful and did not want Hannah to have this child nor did he want her to give it up for adoption. An abusive father and controlling husband and a young girl who withered away right in front of someone’s blind eyes as Cade and Sloan enter the picture and things take a different turn.
Malnutrition is serious and the reason Hannah was hospitalized but no one stopped her parents from coming to see her and the end result is more than just tragic as once again a young life ends and Sloane feels guilty blaming herself for her death. Working together with Cade she hopes to uncover who kidnapped Finn but events are brought to light about the night that Finn and two other children were born. Who was yelling and screaming and wanted quiet? Who lost their child that night and could not cope? What does the Mayor’s wife know about that night? Why is she willing to share information which would benefit her husband’s career with Sloane. Greed, power, corruption and lies and an ex-wife that turns up thinking she can just find her way back into Cade’s life. Some of the scenes with Wendy if not so sad are quite hilarious as she worms her way into his home only to be confronted by Sloane. You have to read it to appreciate what happens. Coming to Serena’s funeral, asking to speak is her downfall and the reaction of her daughter Shelby not surprising. So, why do they forgive her and what happens that causes Sloane to come to her assistance?
Cade and Sloane come upon some interesting information when they decide to pry deeper into the night that Finn was born. Information from a hospital worker reveals the name of the woman who lost her child and from there things take a dangerous and different turn. Someone is desperate to have this child and for reasons that you will not believe. Within the novel the author shares the journal written by Sloan’s grandfather who was an FBI agent. As she reads his entries she begins to realize that she must follow suit as he states: For every wrong in the this world there’s a right, a day when justice is administered to the guilty if not by my own hand, and if not in this life, then it’s sure to be found in the next. To the fallen, the innocent victims of these horrendous crimes, I shed a tear, mourn each victim, each life. But I never allow myself to fall into despair. I simply cannot.” Words that she held dear and made a great impact in her life and her thinking that point on. How do you get stronger if you keep looking back at your failures?
When Cade and Sloane finally piece it all together will they get there in time to save Finn and bring him back to Jack? An ending that will surprise readers as we get to know Aunt Renee, the birth mother’s aunt, Bonnie Jack’s mother and a man whose selflessness will surprise you. What is the fate of this precious child? Will you agree with the ending? Sometimes in order to right a serious wrong we have to correct it in a different way.
What about Sloane and Cade? Will she drive away or will she realize where she belongs? Will he let her go? What about Shelby and her feelings for Sloane? What ‘s next for our Detective and P.I? Only author Cheryl Bradshaw knows when she pens the next exciting chapter in their lives. The issue of adoption comes to light in this novel as well as the issue of abortion. Lies, deceits, hate, revenge and the fragility of a young woman that needs to find herself and a place where she can feel accepted and wanted are other issues within in outstanding novel. Author Cheryl Bradshaw has created a character in Sloane that many can identify with and a character in Cade everyone would love to meet and have in their corner. Hush Now Baby: A mother’s love, a child’s cry will that be enough to find Finn?
Fran Lewis: reviewer