Larger Than Life is a short story that tells the life of Alice who is a scientist working in South Africa on a reserve studying elephants. (the facts you learn reading any of Jodi's books is another reason I l love to read her stories). You will read about her work, her love found then lost just as quickly, and her love for an elephant calf she named Lesego. Alice went to great lengths to save this baby, but in the end things got so heavy in Africa, Alice returned home to care for her ailing mother.
Where There's Smoke is a novel about Serenity, a psychic. This story has nothing to do with Alice or her daughter, Jenna, who is the prime character in Leaving Time, but it does tell you all about Serenity, her life, her story, and her downfalls. She had a cable show that was a lot fake, and a little true talent. However, Serenity had true psychic talent, but because she hadn't been turning to her spirit guides for guidance, and using other sources to give her the information needed for each show on her guests, she made a seriously horrible mistake when telling Senator John McCoy and his wife that their 7 year old son, who had been missing, would be found in Ocala, Fl. alive and well. This was a major downfall, and will cause this talented woman to pretty much go into hiding away from everyone.
Leaving Time ties both of the above stories together when Alice's daughter, Jenna-13 years old, begins the search for her mother who had disappeared one night when a woman was killed at the New Jersey elephant sanctuary where Alice worked. The woman was believed to be trampled by an elephant. Jenna was the daughter of Tom and Alice. Gideon and Grace is also a married couple working the sanctuary, along with Nevvi, Grace's mother. Nervi was killed one night. That night Alice disappeared. Jenna seeks out Serenity and after finally talking Serenity into helping her find her mother, well, you just will be completely surprised when you find out the reason Alice disappeared from Jenna's life. I was sitting, reading this story, then my mouth did the open wide in "What????"! Yea, it's a great book and I am not going to give away the secret. You need to read the book and see what you think when you figure out what's going on.
No, you don't have to read all 3 to love just 1, however, each one is so well written, and getting to know each prime character as you do in these books makes the story so much more meaningful. I loved them all 3, as I have really enjoyed all of Jodi's books. I read all but 4 of hers before there was Kindle in my life. I always learn from her stories, so hats off to her research, so her books have true meaning wrapped up in a well-written story that you just can't put down, no matter which one you read!