Cross My Heart by Pamela Cook. (2019).
**4 out of 5 stars**
Tessa is living a married and child-free life in Sydney when she receives the news that her childhood friend Skye has died. It’s time for Tessa to honour her promise to become foster-mother to Skye’s 10 year old daughter, Grace. To reduce Grace’s trauma, Tess leaves her husband and successful career behind to live in Skye’s isolated home and build a relationship with Grace. But there is a secret from her earlier life with Skye that refuses to stay hidden, especially when Tess starts a unique form of therapy with Grace. Tess needs to make a decision on how to deal with that secret…
This is quite an intense story in the context of being very emotional and heartbreaking. However it is also beautiful, particularly the relationship growth between Tess and Grace. I loved Grace; she was a really amazing, quirky little girl who was dealing with the loss of her mother while also having someone she didn’t really know step into her carer role. I really liked Tess as well and when the secret involving her and Skye was revealed it was horrifying to imagine. I found the animal therapy with horses fascinating, I liked how the story delved into that. Please be aware that there are some issues discussed throughout this story that could be triggers for some readers.
I would very happily recommend this emotionally compelling story that will make you grateful to have your loved ones in your life.