In the 1930s, a homeless, pregnant teenager dies in a New York shelter after giving birth to twin, golden-haired boys, identical in every respect except for a disfiguring birthmark. One child is adopted into a wealthy family; the other one ends up in an orphanage. Kenneth grows into a handsome, privileged, and self-absorbed man; Francis lives a hardscrabble life, raging against his fate and determined to one day balance the scales.
Years later, Camille, a forty-something woman who has grown up in a loving family but has received more than her share of hard knocks in life, decides to spend the afternoon drinking in a tavern. There she meets a distinguished gentleman in his 60s, who introduces himself as Kenneth. They chat, and something clicks.
Kenneth, a retired general from the military, owns a huge ranch and has made a vast fortune off cattle and citrus groves. For seven months, Camille dates the man of her dreams, believing that her luck has finally changed. Or has it? Is Kenneth who he says he is? For that matter, is Camille the woman Kenneth believes her to be?
Thus begins a trilogy of absorbing stories, interconnected by fascinating characters and united by theme. Long after readers finish the book, they may find themselves reflecting on the questions Vanessa Hoffman asks about how we lead our lives.
Are our important life decisions the product of how we were raised by our parents? Or are they more heavily influenced by the instinct to survive? And once we make unethical choices, do we rationalize them and ignore any feelings of guilt? Ultimately, will we pay for our bad decisions, or will we skate through life, able to ignore the damage done to others?
The people who populate Hoffman’s novel are neither wholly good nor wholly bad; but are merely victims of life’s vagaries. They are ordinary people, innocent, vulnerable victims, the self-absorbed and privileged, Irish Mafia bosses, and criminals in league with Jihadists. They have—in some cases—lucked out by an accident of birth, but in other cases, had to struggle to overcome daunting obstacles. All have made questionable, life-altering choices.
Time and again, Ms. Hoffman draws a picture of a person who, had circumstances been different, might’ve made different decisions. In each case, Ms. Hoffman asks the question; will they suffer the consequences of their actions? Some readers may find Hoffman’s tone occasionally a tad preachy. However, the intriguing characters and the interwoven stories of suspense and political intrigue will remain with readers long after they finish the book. Treasure: A Trilogy raises important questions about the ways in which we live our lives. An engrossing and fascinating novel!