The Missing Portrait Geraldine Glodek

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The Missing Portrait  by  Geraldine Glodek

The Missing Portrait by Geraldine Glodek
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Five wealthy men, buddies since childhood, get together in Maine to drink and have a look at a young woman one of them had spotted on a visit there before. Staring into the lounge of the Maine Hotel for Women in Transition, the men are fascinatedMoreFive wealthy men, buddies since childhood, get together in Maine to drink and have a look at a young woman one of them had spotted on a visit there before.

Staring into the lounge of the Maine Hotel for Women in Transition, the men are fascinated with the shabby redhead. If not so colossal, she could pass for Mary Frances McDonald from their home town in Pennsylvania, a miner’s kid none of these men can forget.In the 1960’s, these five were teens whose families had made it into businesses and out of the mines and factories their immigrant ancestors had toiled in. They paraded the streets like prizes. Girls whose parents still earned a living with their hands were urged to better themselves by marrying boys like them. Tim Giovannini, son of a wealthy car dealer, confident of the privileges his family’s status entitled him to, cruised around for opportunities to get pretty young hopefuls in the back seat of one of his father’s cars.Now forty-five, Tim pretends not to be interested in this shabby Mary Frances look-alike in Maine.

But learning that Mary Frances has returned home after twenty-five years in the Navy to plead at churches, bars, government records offices—everywhere—for any information on the infant she gave up at sixteen, he privately delights to imagine the horror on her face if her long-lost child should turn out to be some wretched creature like the one in that hotel lounge.He hears someone shout “Good luck, Sharon!” as the redhead steps outside, pulling a suitcase along the icy Maine streets.

He follows her. Sharon, to ease her loneliness, goes and stands among a group of Quakers holding a peace vigil on a street corner. Tim slips in next to her. Introducing himself as Howard Parker, an attorney, he tells her he’s been trying to locate her to unite her with her real mother, a loving person in Pennsylvania. He thinks that sounding religious will make her trust him, so he claims to be a Quaker.

If she’ll meet him at the Quaker worship on Sunday, he’ll have more information about her mother.Discovering that Sharon is now homeless, he hopes to sell his scheme to one of the unwitting Quakers, someone he can con into receiving mail for Sharon, and better yet, someone who’ll encourage her to stay in touch with him when he leaves town.THE MISSING PORTRAIT is a literary mystery. What actually did become of the baby Mary Frances gave up? She finds no records of the birth anywhere, and her mother, Joyce, who had driven her blindfolded to some unwed mother’s home in the night, isn’t talking.

The child was conceived in a way considered so shameful, that Joyce, even twenty-seven years later, persists in trying to cover up the fact that the baby was ever born. She crowds all of her daughters school portraits on the coffee table to play down the fact that one is missing, the one for eleventh grade, which would have been taken while Mary Frances was stashed away elsewhere, giving birth.Once Tim, who now lives in the Midwest, inserts his manipulations into Mary Frances’s desperate search for her child, he sets in motion a series of events which uncover a scheme that shocks even him.



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