For as long as Halley Steen has known her husband Nathan, he has carried a handful of stones in his pocket. Each day he uses those stones to remind him to follow the Golden Rule, moving a stone from one pocket to the other with each act of kindness. So it's not unusual that Nathan stops to help a stranger on the side of the highway while on his way to his son's football game one Friday evening. But that one act will change all of their lives forever, when a car hydroplanes off the road, killing Nathan instantly.
As Halley and her children Ty and Alice struggle with their grief, Nathan's spiritual legacy lives on. A Facebook page appears, where countless stories about Nathan's selfless acts are shared. But among them is one that stands out, from a woman who says that Nathan saved her life. Neither Halley nor her children have ever heard of Madeline Zuckerman. But soon Halley discovers years of e-mails from this woman to her husband on his computer that refer to "our little girl." How could her husband have kept the secret of this other child for their entire marriage? Why had he lied to her? Was he not the man she thought he was?
Only thirteen-year-old Alice maintains unwavering faith in her father. She knows there's an explanation. When she sets out to find Madeline and learn the truth, she will start to unravel the complex story of The One Good Thing Nathan Steen did that had the greatest impact of all.
Nathan is an unusual man. He carries stones in his pockets, shifting them from one pocket to the next after completing a good deed. He strongly believes in the Golden Rule and does his best to live accordingly. On one tragic day, Nathan's good deeds result in his death. After the funeral, Nathan wife, Halley, and children, Ty. and Alice, discover a disturbing fact: Nathan may have had an affair that resulted in a child. Could this really be true? It would be so hard to believe that about Nathan. His wife and children decide to investigate...what they find will change their characters for the better.
The reader will get to know each main character very well as the story is told from all of their points of view. Halley is easy to love and sympathize with. She is now the glue that holds the saddened family together. Her children are very well-adjusted and try to live life as their father would want them to. The mystery of the woman who claims to have been "saved" by Nathan adds an element of suspense to the novel.
This book was an unusual one and unlike any I usually pick up. I liked the entire family and most of the secondary characters. I wasn't too big a fan of Madeline, the woman who claimed to bear Nathan's child, but I understood her purpose in the story. I loved the subtle hints and reminders that it doesn't take much to brighten someone's day. The lessons the story provides will stick with me later on.
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