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Genre: Mainstream, General Mainstream Fiction
Jack St. Bride was a soccer coach and teacher at a private school before he was unjustly—and wrongly—accused of having a sexual relationship with a member of the girls' soccer team. After serving an eight month sentence, Jack is released, with no plans for the future.
When he enters the Do-Or-Diner in sleepy Salem Falls, New Hampshire, Addie Peabody hires him on as a dishwasher. Her alcoholic father, Roy, is the owner of the diner and in need of a roommate. As word leaks out that Jack is a registered sex offender, the townspeople turn on him, and Addie and Jack turn towards one another for comfort.
A spoiled teenaged daughter of the owner of a local pharmaceutical company, Gillian Duncan, is used to getting her way. When Jack fails to take her lures, she and her friends devise a plan. Will Addie's faith in Jack waiver when he once again finds himself on the wrong side of the law?
Brilliant characterizations provide the framework for this heart-wrenching novel. Jack and Addie's is a relationship to champion as they come together in spite of their pasts. And Ms. Picoult's depiction of small-town life is accurate as well as eye-opening. Not all hearts and flowers, living in a small community carries its own pitfalls when a few powerful individuals wield control over others, and anonymity is never assured.(Jul., 434 pp., $14.00)
Reviewed By: Sheri Melnick
Published: July 2002