Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
Book description~ love can redeem a man…but secrets and lies can condemn him.A handsome stranger comes to the sleepy New England town of Salem Falls in hopes of burying his past: once a teacher at a girls’ prep school, Jack St. Bride was destroyed when a student’s crush sparked a powder keg of accusation. Now, washing dishes for Addie Peabody at the Do-Or-Diner, he slips quietly into his new routine, and Addie finds this unassuming man fitting easily inside her heart. But amid the rustic calm of Salem Falls, a quartet of teenage girls harbor dark secrets — and they maliciously target Jack with a shattering allegation. Now, at the center of a modern-day witch hunt, Jack is forced once again to proclaim his innocence: to a town searching for answers, to a justice system where truth becomes a slippery concept written in shades of gray, and to the woman who has come to love him.
Wow. Jodi does it again. And yes, I do realize that I’m way behind as I’m reading this after all her other more recent works. But this, as my friends hypothesized, is now one of my all time favorite Jodi books right up with 19 Minutes. She has such an amazing gift for nuance and amazing character depth. I’m glad to have enjoyed her evolving style and much prefer the way she gives each character their own chapters in her current works, where in her older novels she just separates with a bit of space. It’s a bit more distracting with just a new paragraph when the character’s voice changes, making me appreciate her current style that much more.
Regardless of your beliefs about the legal system, the way she incorporates true-to-life courtroom drama into her novels is something that truly fascinates me. Her ability to not “preach” but rather show the reader all sides of each story is so unique, and not done nearly enough by modern authors. I feel like I’ve learned so much about courtroom happenings just from her books. She does amazing amounts of research to bring this town to its knees over a very controversial and always current topic, incorporating Wicca, teen angst, hormones gone crazy, family struggle, redemption and vindication all in one.
I just adored the dynamic between Addie and Jack. The mystery. The passion. One of my favorite moments was when Jack took it upon himself to break the chain of hurt and changed Chloe’s room . I loved Addie’s open heart and the way Jack brought redemption to her lost soul. This book carried me away with it and I really enjoyed the long stretches of time I had to devote to this book while traveling in airports throughout the last few days. My flights flew by (pun intended) because I was so intertwined in the characters of Salem Falls. Bottom line, this is a fantastic novel and timeless whether you read it when it was first published or 10 years from now. Th issues, the characters, the dynamics are forever apropos.
7 down, 19 to go!
In progress, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother