The latest from Leimbach (The Man from Saigon) is a nuanced portrayal of a mother and daughter at once linked and divided by a ferociously exploitative man. In 1978, Maryland disc jockey Craig Kirtz pursues a friendship with June, an insecure widow, to gain access to her 13-year-old daughter, Bobbie. June remains oblivious as her daughter sinks deeper and deeper into a secret life shaped by Craig’s sexual demands, emotional manipulation, and drug-fueled volatility. Bobbie can’t extricate herself until a dramatic combination of events on a single September night sets her escape in motion. Making a new life for herself in California after she runs away, she refuses to return home or see her mother—now Craig’s wife—for 30 years. But when she learns that Craig has been tried and acquitted for molesting another teenager, she feels compelled to initiate legal proceedings that she hopes will stop him for good. As she reencounters Craig, her mother, and Dan Gregory, the beau she left behind when she ran away, Bobbie confronts both her past and her future. Treating June’s perspective as richly as Bobbie’s, the novel brings memorable depth to issues often oversimplified; Leimbach’s scenes are convincing, whether they portray harrowing abuse or subtle moments of healing. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2016 Release date: 07/26/2016 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.