Kidnapped from her front yard in Oklahoma eleven years ago, seventeen-year-old Eve Anderson lives a wretched existence in Bell Meade, Minnesota with her abductor, “Papa,” his common-law wife “Mama,” and Honey, Eve’s four-year-old daughter with Papa. Papa keeps the family hidden behind locked doors, boarded-up windows, and an eight-foot tall fence that surrounds their backyard.
Emma Love, also seventeen, recently moved to Bell Meade with her Aunt Vi to take care of her big sister Noelle, who’s in a vegetative state after being savagely beaten by her boyfriend, Jack Armstrong. He is charged with grievous bodily harm, but Emma worries that the popularity and influence of the Armstrong family will keep Noelle from getting the justice she deserves.
When Eve and Emma start talking through the fence that adjoins their backyards, they soon form a connection. Emma finds it comforting to talk to Eve about Noelle, and Eve sees parallels between Noelle’s situation and her own. She acts as Emma’s confidant, but does not reveal her own secrets, for fear of Papa’s wrath if he finds out.
But when Papa decides to marry Eve and move the family to an isolated farmhouse, Eve must risk everything to save herself and Honey. Will she have the courage to escape from Papa before it’s too late? And will Emma have the strength to help her new friend, even as she struggles to save her own sister?
On May 3, 2010, Yeardley Love, a beautiful, vibrant senior and lacrosse player at the University of Virginia, was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, George Huguely. Everyone at the university, including my daughter Elizabeth, who was also a senior at the time, was devastated. As a former UVA alumnus and a mother, I was heartbroken over Yeardley’s death and never forgot her. The character of Noelle is loosely based on Yeardley’s story.
The character of Eve is a fictional composite of two girls, Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard, who were abducted from their homes by psychopaths and held captive; Elizabeth for nine months, and Jaycee for over eighteen years. Fortunately, they both eventually escaped from their captors and returned to their families.
Because of the subject matter of these girls’ stories, OVER THE FENCE is not for everyone. Although not overly graphic in nature, this novel does depict instances of domestic violence and sexual assault of a minor. If you get upset or uncomfortable reading this book, please set it down and call your doctor or local mental health office.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, you can get help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. For anyone who has information on a missing child, call the Missing and Exploited Child Hotline at 1-800-843-5678.
And lastly, Sharon and Lexie Love, Yeardley’s mother and sister, co-founded the One Love Foundation, to honor Yeardley’s memory and help empower young people to have healthy relationships. You can donate to this worthy cause at www.joinonelove.org.