What Jonah Knew – Two Mothers, Two Sons, Linked Across Time

A mother loves, cares, never lets go.

When Henry Bird goes missing, his mother, Helen, knows he would never disappear voluntarily, especially when his girlfriend, Mira, is expecting their child. Helen continues to search for him while running her popular Aurora bakery, the Queen of Hearts, and spending time with Mira and her granddaughter, Lola. She also stays in touch with Will Handler, the detective handling Henry’s case. 

After years of trying, Lucie and her husband, Matt, are elated to learn they will soon be parents. Lucie is in Aurora renting a house while Matt, an ophthalmologist, stays in the city to finish seeing patients. Stopping in the bakery, Lucie has contractions. Alarmed, Helen takes her to the hospital and is the first to hold Lucie’s son, Jonah. Something passes between Helen and the baby which she can’t describe. She leaves before Lucie wakes up.

Lucie wants to be the perfect mother, but struggles when Jonah wakes up in the middle of the night screaming. In the morning, Jonah doesn’t remember anything, although he continues to express fear when he hears loud noises. Lucie’s alarm grows when Jonah talks about his other mother, the one who runs the bakery. And when Henry’s dog, Charlie, sees Jonah, he’s all over the little boy, something that astonishes both Lucie and Helen.

Is it possible that Jonah has absorbed Henry’s spirit? That Jonah is Henry reincarnated? Lucie is skeptical, but willing to learn more, even reuniting with her mother who is living in a Buddhist facility. Matt, a doctor, believes in science, but after more incidents illustrate Jonah’s knowledge of Henry and perhaps what happened to him, he’s drawn in.

We hear from Henry, too. Is he still alive and communicating through Jonah? Or is he caught between earth and the heaven? Henry was a member of a popular band that was just hitting its stride. But could one of his bandmates who was an addict have something to do with Henry’s disappearance?

Barbara Graham (Photo Credit: Clay McLachlan)

Mira moves on, marrying Jackson, someone she dated in high school before she chose Henry. Jackson is a real estate executive and he convinces Mira to work with him, transforming her appearance from the free spirit she was with Henry into a sophisticated working woman. Helen is alarmed by the new Mira and misses the person who was a link to Henry.

Helen holds onto the hope that Henry is still alive and may have gone to Eugene, Oregon, to search for his father. Although Kip was a brilliant professor, he had a dark side. When he began to abuse his son, Helen took Henry and fled. They changed their names from Alice and Danny and settled in Aurora. Now, going back to Eugene, means facing Kip’s mother, Rosaleen, explaining why they left and that Danny may now be dead.

Barbara Graham has succeeded not only in writing an engrossing murder mystery, but one that raises fundamental questions about birth, death, and whether we live one life or many. What Jonah Knew is also a testament to mother love, how strong that bond becomes in life and even after death. An engrossing read.

What Jonah Knew
Barbara Graham

About Charlene Giannetti (591 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.