Goodreads ~ At the end of a long winter, in bucolic Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of an infant is discovered in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. No one knows who the baby is or how her body ended up out there. But there is no shortage of opinions.
When freelance journalist and recent Ridgedale transplant, Molly Anderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the story for the Ridegdale Reader, it’s a risk, given the severe depression that followed the loss of her own baby. But the bigger threat comes when Molly unearths some of Ridgedale’s darkest secrets, including a string of unreported sexual assaults that goes back twenty years.
Meanwhile, Sandy, a high school dropout, searches for her volatile and now missing mother, and PTA president Barbara struggles to help her young son, who’s suddenly having disturbing outbursts.
Told from the perspectives of Molly, Barbara, and Sandy, Kimberly McCreight’s taut and profoundly moving novel unwinds the tangled truth about the baby’s death revealing that these three women have far more in common than they realized. And that their lives are more intertwined with what happened to the baby than they ever could have imagined.
The body of a baby is found on the university campus. Still recovering from the loss of her own baby, Molly is a reporter for the local newspaper and she is sent to cover the story. She uncovers disturbing information about the locals and she wonders if it's related to the death of the baby.
Sandy is a teenager whose mother, Jenna, has disappeared. Sandy has always been the responsible one taking care of Jenna (rather than the other way around). Has Jenna taken off to party with one of her many men or has something happened to her? Sandy's having a hard time getting answers and is trying to stay focused on passing her GED.
Barbara is the devoted mother of two and married to the town's police chief. Her teenage daughter, Hannah, is perfect and abides by Barbara's strict rules. Suddenly her young son, Cole, is starting to have behavioural problems which distresses Barbara, who assumes it must be someone's bad influence on him.
This is the second book I've read by this author and I liked it and found it interesting. The story is told through Molly's newspaper columns, Molly's transcripts from a couple years ago when she was treated for depression after the loss of her baby, Jenna's diary from when she was a teenager, and narrations (first person perspective when it is Molly's voice and third person perspective when the focus was on Sandy and Barbara). It gets a bit convoluted sometimes so you have to pay attention. The chapters are labelled so you know whose voice it is.
I found there were too many pages devoted to Molly feeling guilty that she lost her baby. The present day story would be moving along and then we would be dragged into the past yet again reading Molly's transcripts about feeling guilt ... once would have been enough for me to get what she was feeling. As a head's up, there is swearing (F-bomb, etc.).
I liked Molly and Sandy and was cheering for them. I didn't find Barbara likable at all (I don't think I was supposed to) and I found her to be a nutbar ... she jumped to some crazy absurd assumptions and then acted on them.