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Ms. Hoffman's deep and heart-wrenching tale is as much a story of human nature as it is a glimpse into the souls of the primary characters. Only Kat's chapters are craftily written in first person, detailing her tragic young life as she comes to terms with her cancer-ridden father's suicide and the shattering indifference of her beautiful older sister.
There is no simplicity here, as Jorie struggles not only with the issue of forgiveness but the fact that the man she married, so easily reinvented himself that he totally forgot the reprehensible self he left behind.
What happens when a solitary event turns one woman's life upside down, altering her future and uncovering the past?
Jorie Ford is enjoying a peaceful summer with her husband of thirteen years, Ethan, and their preteen son, Collie. As a successful carpenter, all-around good guy, and volunteer fireman, Ethan is a pillar in their Massachusetts community. He is unaware that Kat Williams, a young neighbor, has seen his face bleep across the television as someone wanted by the police. Her phone call to the local P.D. sends reluctant officers to the Ford house and shatters their idyllic existence.
As friends rally around Ethan, Jorie must decide whether to continue to support her husband and helplessly watch as Collie is transformed from a happy boy to one fueled by anger at the betrayal of his father. Her best friend Charlotte provides support, though she's faced with an impending divorce and lonely bouts of chemotherapy for breast cancer.
(Aug., 304 pp., $13.00)
Reviewed By: Sheri Melnick
Published: August 2002