From Publishers Weekly
As she did in her first novel, Eden Close , Shreve opens this absorbing story with oblique hints of a violent event--here a murder committed by a woman in response to domestic abuse--then segues to flashbacks that slowly reveal the circumstances leading up to it. A reporter who wrote a book about the crime shares her notes, presented in alternating versions and voices. Most affecting is the voice of the accused woman, who flees Manhattan with her six-month-old daughter to seek sanctuary in a coastal Maine village where she is protected by the clannish but sympathetic townspeople. She finds temporary solace in an affair with a sensitive lobsterman, but is betrayed to her husband by another man out of jealousy. Shreve is particularly effective in evoking the landscape and atmosphere of a close-knit community and the authentic vernacular of its nicely differentiated inhabitants. Her elegiac, portentous prose provides effective pacing. The novel's main drawback, however, lies in its predictability, and in the lack of credibility for the heroine's violent act, faults Shreve somewhat overcomes by raising the question of journalistic integrity (did the reporter alter her notes?) and the possibility that the accused woman's account might have contained deliberate falsehoods. In spite of its superficialities, however, the novel is often insightful and moving.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Thrilling and finely written . . . Ms. Shreve renders the beleaguered woman's voice, and the voices of other townspeople, with the arresting clarity we ask of all good writing."-The New Yorker
"Shreve's prose is clear and compassionate, and her message moving."-The Washington Post Book World
"Superbly rendered . . . both touching and troubling. The box-within-a-box structure moves Shreve's subtle and searing book beyond the contemporary horror genre. It creates a kind of double novel."-Cosmopolitan