Recently widowed Sarah Laden is barely coping with her grief while running a home catering business and raising 16 year old Nate and 11 year old Danny. Her good friend and neighbour Courtney has been a life-line, dragging her out of the house to exercise, entertaining her kids and sending catering jobs her way. One morning Sarah meets Courtney’s young son Jordan on his way to school and insists on giving him a ride. When Jordan gets sick, they make an emergency stop at a construction site bathroom. After Jordan does not return to the car, Sarah investigates and rescues him from an attempted suicide attempt. Once Jordan is admitted to hospital, an ugly story of incest and child pornography comes to light. Jordan’s father runs from the police, Courtney is arrested, and Sarah must face the truth about her friend and their relationship.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
Kittle deals with an extremely distasteful subject in an honest and sensitive way. She does not whitewash the truth, but neither does she dwell on any of the nasty details. It was interesting to see how the first impulse of many of the book’s characters was to disbelieve or try to excuse Courtney’s behavior. It was hard to understand that an educated, professional woman would be involved in such a thing, but Kittle brings out the statistics to support this profile. Other important statistics and information about sexual abuse are woven into the story – some facts more seamlessly than others. The story is framed carefully within a flashback of twelve years, so that the reader can navigate the difficult passages knowing that Jordan is going to survive. The heart of the story is the role of the Laden family in helping Jordan to rebuild his life, and how this act pulls their family back together.