Last night I started reading the novel Once Upon a Day at 10:00 on a whim (Goodwill buy I was planning to re-sell without reading). As I am wont to do with fiction, I couldn't put it down and finished it at 1:00 a.m. It was interesting and also the first novel with "disturbing" elements that I've read in a while (disturbing books became tons more disturbing to me after having children and I've decided that there is no reason to bring icky stuff into my brain like that--so, I no longer read mysteries, etc. Why fill up your head with all kinds of murders, etc.? There is much pain in the real world, why spend a bunch of time reading stories about imaginary pain?). It didn't get disturbing until about halfway through and by then I was hooked and had to keep reading--that is one reason I kept reading until I was finished, to get "over" the bad sections to the happy ending I was expecting to come.
Anyway, the book was about a father that ran away (mysterious reasons at the beginning) from LA with two children and raised them in total seclusion in a big house in New Mexico--he wanted to keep them "safe." He is VERY obsessive about keeping them safe. He also keeps them in 1950's style--clothes, books, etc. Literally total seclusion--they've never been to town or anything. The brother turns rebellious and leaves for St. Louis when he is 23. The sister stops hearing from him after a while and father gets sick, so she sets off in the world in search of her brother. She meets a doctor-turned-cab-driver whose wife and daughter were killed in a car accident two years before and he helps her navigate the confusing "real world." The rest of the story is about finding her brother and unraveling the mysteries of what caused her father to run away, what really happened to their mother, etc. The book shifts between present day and past happenings (told in present tense).