(I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca at BEA this year!)
Jill and Cade are an ideal college couple, smart and handsome and lost in their love for each other. When Jill becomes pregnant, their life is put on hold and they move in with Cade’s family, hoping to save some money and pick up where they left off once the baby is born. But what was thought to be a temporary situation becomes a long ordeal enmeshed in the family drama in rural New Hampshire. Cade’s brother Elias is a suffering combat veteran struggling to resume civilian life. Their sister Candy spouts fundamentalist rhetoric while her husband Dodge exemplifies the anti-establishment gun-toting hick. This is a scary combination, and when tragedy strikes, Cade is influenced to become the man he promised he would never become. His previous ambition becomes focused on something much more sinister, and Jill can only observe as the man she loves becomes paranoid, delusional and dangerous.
These characters are flawed, but Coleman provides a thorough background on their lives to validate their fallibility. They each carry their burdens differently. Cade’s mother is stoic and resigned, Candy is piously defiant, Dodge is arrogant and blameless, and Cade is stubborn yet malleable. Yes, they make some very stupid decisions, especially Jill who meekly sits by while the insanity escalates. As I witnessed the intensification of events, I wanted to reach into the pages and slap some fools around. It was frustrating at times, but that was the driving force of the book. Cade’s complicity to let Dodge warp his mind culminates in a very riveting dramatic conclusion.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.