Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
Unabridged, 18 hr. 45 min.
Julia Gibson (Narrator)
June 8, 2007
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Audiobook
Source: Borrowed Audiobook from Library
"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."
All Jack St. Bride wanted to do was find somewhere quiet to start his life over; somewhere people wouldn’t know who he was or what baggage he brought with him. Unfortunately for him, a small town is not the place to do this. In a small town people come together to protect their own from outsiders at ANY cost.
Gillian Duncan has everything a teenage girl could want – her father is the wealthiest man in town, she is pretty, and has a bunch of girlfriends. She is also carrying around some heavy secrets, such as…she’s a witch. One night when her and her friends are celebrating a pagan ceremony things get very out of control. When the dust settles Jack St. Bride is accused of felonious sexual assault on Gillian Duncan – the second time in a year he has been accused of this type of crime! Jack adamantly denies this charge, as he had with the previous one, but no one believes him. How will he ever get out of this situation? How many times does lightning strike the same place?
I had started reading this book in hardcopy about two years ago, but I didn’t get very far – for reasons that I can’t remember now. Once I started listening to the audio book I quickly fell into the story. The story jumps back and forth in time between Jack’s youth, his first charge of sexual assault, and the present (the second charge). It was relatively easy to follow these time shifts because Jack’s life is so radically different. One of my favorite characters was Jack’s lawyer, Jordan McAfee. His perception of Jack from when he first comes to town, to representing him as his lawyer and flip flopping as to whether he believes him or not mirrored many of my own thoughts. If you have read The Pact, another Picoult book, you might recognize him as the defense attorney for Chris.
The ending will absolutely blow you away! A traditional Picoult book with that hook ending that you never see coming, but once you read it, you recognize all the signs that were pointing there all along. Amazing!
Jodi Picoult also has written more than a dozen novels. You can visit Picoult's website for additional information about the books. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, you can read an excerpt from the book here.
The narrator was easily able to capture the essence of Gillian as a teenage girl. She also really kept my attention on a book that I couldn't get through in a print copy.
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