Ella Keyes thought the death of her twin brother, Stuart, was the last time she'd let life surprise her. She's up for tenure at her university, she escaped a doomed engagement, and her fluffy cat knows exactly when to expect her home every day. But when her grandmother passes and leaves Ella her house, Ella discovers that the third-floor corridor of keys is more than just a family pun. The seemingly unremarkable keys don't unlock any doors in the house, but each time Ella touches one, something in her life shifts. Her life's carefully grown roots are ripped out of their soil. Flowers bloom in the middle of a Buffalo winter. A blind date with the wrong person ends up being just maybe the right one.
Her grandmother's batty twin sister turns up every day searching for something even she doesn't know how to identify, and Ella's parents refuse to return her calls. Worse, she finds trinkets from Stuart everywhere she goes, ghosts of a game they used to play. The leash she's kept on life's surprises for three years has snapped, and Ella will have to learn that the road to peace starts with letting go of control and that sometimes the best family you have is the family you build.
"Amber Benson's ardent performance brings out the heartbreak and mystery in this story centering on themes of family, grief, and hope. Benson provides a myriad of voices to portray the characters with consistency and effectiveness, especially the contemplative voice of Ella and the croaky, self-confidence of Aunt Eunice. Most impactful is Benson's deliberate pacing, which conveys Ella's heavy heart as she mourns the deaths of her beloved grandmother and her twin brother. This unhurried pacing, together with the intensity of her reading, also efficiently conveys the mysterious powers of the keys that do not unlock any doors but somehow influence events in Ella's life. Some inconsistencies in volume are minor distractions in this heartfelt delivery of an intriguing story." (AudioFile Magazine)
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