When Jane Lewis and the attractive homecoming queen Connie Bryan are attacked by a gang of jocks while walking back to their dorm, Connie is brutally raped but Jane is not. Connie doesnt report the crime for fear of losing her fianci. Janetraumatized by being considered too fat to be rapedtakes pictures of Connie, but agrees not to call the police. Graduation day, Jane learns that Connie has killed herself.

Years later, Jane is a practicing psychiatrist with her own radio program. She never reported the attack, nor told Connies parents about the rape. Then her high school crush, Mike Sorenson, reenters her life. Years ago he would have gagged at touching her, but everything, especially Jane, has changed. Everything, that is, except the past.

In this novel about the hidden, often destructive, grip of past events, theres a ghost dog, a living but retired K-9 police dog and several appealing humans. Fern Michaels inspires a willing suspension of disbelief as she explores low self-esteem, hence the title, but also guilt and the long-term emotions of working through the traumatic issues of rape. (Mar., 292 pp., $24.00)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger