June's BAM Challenge is a little tricky. One could argue that every book is either about knowledge or contains knowledge, right? But perusing the list of suggested titles, I saw a number of them were on the theme of secrets and Penny Vincenzi's Sheer Abandon fits that bill perfectly.
Three young women meet at Heathrow airport as they embark on a year of backpacking. They spend a few days together in Thailand and then go their separate ways, promising to meet up again a year later when they are all back from England. One of them - we don't know who - returns to England pregnant, has her baby in a cleaning closet in Heathrow and abandons it there.
Sixteen years later, the three still haven't met up again. Jocasta is a journalist with a commitment-phobe boyfriend, Clio is a doctor, and Martha is a high-powered lawyer moving her way into politics. Kate, the abandoned baby, has grown up into a beautiful teenager hoping for a modeling career and, more importantly, wanting to find her birth mother. Their worlds all begin to approach each other, amid much drama and scandal. Their lives are all affected by the secrets they keep from each other, and there are many interesting turning points in the story that come about because of what each character decides to share, and what they keep to themselves. This novel wasn't quite as literary as many of the books I read, but it wasn't exactly Danielle Steel either (no offense to Steel - I'll readily admit to reading all of her books in high school). Sheer Abandon is a great beach read, if you care to lug it there. But don't let the 600 pages daunt you - this is perfect summer fare.