At first glance, her mother’s room appeared vacant. She punched one of the wild wrinkles raised on the unmade bed to test for flesh, found air, and wondered how any god who was supposed to be a father would choose a woman like her mother.

Her father hadn’t. Oren Sterling’s departure had been more magical than holy. For eleven years, he’d promised her each of her birthdays would be better than the last. On her eleventh birthday, she’d nearly fainted when he revealed the pink and silver carousel w…