Fans of Shreve's other novels, including The Pilot's Wife and The Weight of Water, will appreciate this earlier effort, which, like the others, combines mystery and marriage to create a suspenseful, intriguing story about trouble. Like Anna Quindlen's novel, Black and Blue, Strange Fits of Passion revolves around a young mother who has taken her child and fled an abusive husband to settle in a new community and begin life again under an assumed name. The similarities end there, however, as Shreve builds a more complex, thickly layered story that involves numerous points of view and dips in and out of the past without ever becoming confusing or dense. The novel begins with a magazine writer, Helen Scofield, traveling to a college dormitory to visit Caroline English, the daughter of writer Maureen English, a woman who, we soon learn, was imprisoned for murdering her allegedley abusive husband, Harrold, also a writer, many years earlier. Helen's visit is, ostensibly, to deliver to Caroline the letters and transcripts that she collected as she investigated the murder for an article she was writing. We read of the relationship between Maureen English and her husband from her own point of view--reports of the abuse she suffered, the life she led in the small Maine fishing village to which she fled, and, later, the details of the event that took her husband's life. Interspersed with her memories are the reports from various members of the fishing community she lived in--people who variously report on Maureen and her life there, and who hold her responsible for the crime to varying degrees. Finally, we read the article Helen wrote about Maureen English, her marriage, and her decision to kill her husband, and learn an entirely other lesson about what the truth is and what it means to tell the truth. This is a fascinating, engrossing story.