Zoe Whittall * Ballantine * September 19, 2017 * 404 Pages
George Woodbury is a hero in the Connecticut suburb where he lives, having once stopped a gunman from killing a girl at the prep school where he teaches. So it comes as quite a shock when, ten years later, he is accused of acting inappropriately with one of his high school students. George denies the charges, but no one—not his friends, family, or neighbors—knows what to think.
The premise of this book intrigued me. I’ve had to deal with a similar issue in my extended family, and I’ve been amazed by the things some people do, the secrets they keep. It’s crazy. So I was curious to see how Whittall would have the situation play out in this book.
The story is told from the loosely alternating perspectives of George; his devoted wife, Joan; his popular 17-year old daughter, Sadie; and his successful but bitter son, Andrew, who is now a lawyer. Each takes a turn at investigating and unraveling the scandal while George sits in jail vehemently proclaiming his innocence. Their different perspectives and emotional responses keep the book engaging, fast-paced, and mysterious.
Truthfully, I wasn’t always wowed by Whittall’s writing (there are more than a few lazy and cliche moments…), but I definitely kept flipping pages, desperate to know what really happened. Ultimately, the intrigue of the scandal and the empathy I felt for the characters was enough to carry me through to the end, and I was mostly satisfied with the story’s conclusion. No, this isn’t a book that is going to change your life—but it does make for a nice few hours of entertainment.
Advanced Reader Copy provided through Net Galley.