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Genre: Mainstream, General Mainstream Fiction
In Biddeford, Maine, prosecutor Nina Frost takes her five-year-old son Nathaniel to day care before beginning her day filled with a barrage of cases from rape to child molestation. When she must remove Nathaniel from day care early because of his destructive behavior, she becomes disturbed by his unwillingness to speak.
But a horrific discovery sends Nina and husband Caleb reeling: Nathaniel is mute because of trauma resulting from sexual abuse. Even as these unimaginable circumstances threaten to tear their family apart, Nina must face the facts as she knows them: convictions in child molestation cases are rare, and testifying is traumatic for a child. The powerful lure of vengeance becomes evident as the list of suspects mounts and changes, while Nathaniel tries to come to terms with life-altering abuse and the changing circumstances of his mother and father.
At once heart-wrenching and thought-provoking, Ms. Picoult's latest gives new life to the term "shades of gray." Add in the mystery of the unknown molester with the threat of Nina's childhood pal Patrick to Caleb and Nina's marriage, and you have a superlative multifaceted read. (May, 364 pp., $25.00)
Reviewed By: Sheri Melnick
Published: May 2002