cover image The Society of Shame

The Society of Shame

Jane Roper. Anchor, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-46876-0

A New York politician’s wife becomes an unwitting public figure in the entertaining latest from Roper (Eden Lake). Bill Held compromises his marriage and his Senate bid by having sex with an aide. They’re exposed, and the story goes viral, including a photo of his wife, Kathleen, in which she’s wearing period-stained pants. Though Kathleen just wants some privacy, a movement called Yes We Bleed builds in response to online trolls who seized on the photograph. At first, Kathleen finds the movement disingenuous and wants no part of it, partially to protect her 12-year-old daughter, Aggie. Aggie, on the other hand, insists on participating, much to Bill’s ire, who worries it will further damage his campaign. Things change after Kathleen intercepts an invitation meant for Bill to a secret society of people who have been canceled. She bonds with the founder, a disgraced romance novelist who advises Kathleen to reap the benefits of her situation, which includes the chance to publish her own novel. She’s ultimately swayed when she realizes how much the movement means to Aggie. Most touching is the mother-daughter relationship, as Kathleen projects her fears onto Aggie, and Aggie restores her mom’s youthful boldness. Readers will be swept along by Roper’s scrappy heroine. (Apr.)