From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult comes a compelling and disturbing novel about a prep school teacher accused of rape by a group of young girls, the woman who stands by him, and the repercussions of the case in a small, New England town where the past is only a heartbeat away.
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.
Picoult's new novel (following the acclaimed Plain Truth) is a story about rape and reputation, loosely based on The Crucible. Jack St. Bride comes to Salem Falls, N.H., after his release from prison. The former teacher and soccer coach wants to start a new life following a wrongful conviction for statutory rape. Unfortunately, Salem Falls turns out to be the wrong place to do it. He has no trouble landing a job at the local diner and winning the trust of the diner's eccentric owner, Addie, but the rest of the town is suspicious. Things get dangerous when manipulative 17-year-old Gillian Duncan, whose father owns half the town, gets interested in Jack and tries to seduce him with Wiccan love spells. Then Gillian is assaulted in the woods, and Jack is accused of the crime. As the courtroom battle unfolds, many secrets are revealed, and Picoult's characters are forced to confront the difference between who people areand who they saythey are. The difference is considerable: despite the townspeople's aura of virtue, by the end of the book we're hard pressed to find any women who have never been raped or threatened, or any men who are really innocent of violence. While Picoult seems ambivalent about the power of Wiccan spells, she has no doubts about the power of sex and violence to change lives. Some of her characters, though, can be almost disturbingly forgiving. Genuinely suspenseful and at times remarkably original, this romance mystery morality play will gain Picoult new readers although her treatment of the aftermath of rape may also make her a few enemies.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Different than what I have read of her other works...but still great!
I have been a fan of her books for the last 10+ years. While this book was good, I found it didn't follow the traditional pace of her books. Typically there is a HUGE unexpected twist within the last couple of pages, and while this had "twists" at the end of the story they were no where near the level that I have read previously, it was actually kind of an expected ending, including the last sentence (if you pay attention to the hints/clues throughout the novel)
A wonderful book I didn't want to end!
I didn't want Salem Falls to end. It had suspense, drama, twists and turns, love...all the great emotions that one would expect out of a Jodi Pocoult novel. I loved it!
First book I read from Jodi Picoult and it caught my attention quickly.. Really great read