What Happened to Hannah by Mary Kay McComas
When it came to this blog entry, I almost wanted to say I didn’t know where to begin, because What Happened to Hannah may leave you as speechless as it left me. Hannah Benson ran away literally to save herself from her abusive father. One day, the life she left behind calls her when her mother passes away. She offers her former love turned sheriff, Grady Steadman, money to bury her mother, but she doesn’t want to return to Clearfield until he tells her about her niece, Anna, her sister Ruthie’s daughter, of whom Hannah now has legal guardianship.
As Hannah returns to town to deal with her mother’s estate, and more importantly to meet Anna, she is faced with the life that moved on after she left. Hannah thinks she can just move Anna to Baltimore and get on with their lives, but she soon finds out it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Hannah has to reconcile both the past and the present to finally move forward. We learn that Anna, who was named after Hannah, lived mostly with her Gram, the same woman who was abused and allowed abuse in her home all of her girls’ childhood. But Hannah’s mother had changed once her abusive husband met his violent demise and Hannah has to reconcile the woman she knew with the woman who raised Anna and nursed Ruthie while she suffered from AIDS and died. You also get to see Anna’s life, where she’s best friends with Grady’s children, and watch Hannah get to know Anna and Grady (again).
There are parts of this story regarding the abuse of Hannah, her mother, and sister at the hands of her father that will make your stomach turn. However, this is truly a story of family, the ones we choose and sometimes the ones that choose us. This book is a keeper; just don’t forget the tissues.