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When Jack St. Bride arrives by chance in the sleepy New England town of Salem Falls, he decides to reinvent himself. Tall, blond, and handsome, Jack was once a beloved teacher and soccer coach at a girls' prep school -- until a student's crush sparked a powder keg of accusation and robbed him of his reputation. Now, working for minimum wage washing dishes for Addie Peabody at the Do-Or-Diner, Jack buries his past, content to become the mysterious stranger who has appeared out of the blue.
With ghosts of her own haunting her, Addie Peabody is as cautious around men as Jack St. Bride is around women. But as this unassuming stranger steps smoothly into the diner's daily routine, she finds him fitting just as comfortably inside her heart -- and slowly, a gentle, healing love takes hold between them.
Yet planting roots in Salem Falls may prove fateful for Jack. Amid the white-painted centuries-old churches, a quartet of bored, privileged teenage girls have formed a coven that is crossing the line between amusement and malicious intent. Quick to notice the attractive new employee at Addie's diner, the girls turn Jack's world upside down with a shattering allegation that causes history to repeat itself -- and forces Jack to proclaim his innocence once again. Suddenly nothing in Salem Falls is as it seems: a safe haven turns dangerous, an innocent girl meets evil face-to-face, a dishwasher with a Ph.D. is revealed to be an ex-con. As Jack's hidden past catches up with him, the seams of this tiny town begin to tear, and the emerging truth becomes a slippery concept written in shades of gray. Now Addie, desperate for answers, must look into her heart -- and into Jack's lies and shadowy secrets -- for evidence that will condemn or redeem the man she has come to love.

Topics: New England, Sexual Abuse, Suspenseful, Dramatic, Love, Scandal, Incest, and Trauma

Published: Atria Books on May 18, 2001
ISBN: 9780743422796
List price: $7.99
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Interesting premise. Kind of predictable, but still a good story.read more
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very good!!read more
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Interesting premise. Kind of predictable, but still a good story.
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2.5
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very good!!
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The absolute unfairness of life situations out of one's control is captured in this story by Picoult. I really disliked teenage girls for awhile after reading this book and as a Mom, it was hard to imagine what life would be like if you lost a child. I thought this Picoult book was pretty good.
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Picoult writes another drama filled story that makes you want more with each turn of the page. Jack St Bride moves to a new town after being convicted of rape (although he is innocent). Word gets around in this new town, and Jack is unwanted by a lot of the townspeople. Soon, he is accused of another rape, (which he again did not do) by another teenage girl who was rejected by Jack. As we go through all the evidence in the his second trail, things get interesting and the end is very surprising.
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A typical thriller with all the necessary ingredients to make an entertaining reading.Jack is a young man who paid the unfair price of a defective legal system. Incarcerated eight months for a crime he didn't commit, he seeks refuge in a quiet place to start anew and arrives one morning in Salem Falls with nothing in his pockets.Addie has her own ghosts, but when she meets Jack, she accepts him without any questions and he starts working at her Cafeteria.It's not long until feelings start to arise between them and when they take definite steps towards a future together, tragedy strikes again and Jack is accused for the same crime as before: raping a minor.Here you are: you've got a love story, a classical thriller with a supernatural tilt (Salem and witches rings a bell, doesn't it??) all in one book.So, you've got a decent plot, and the pages of the story flow fast and easy, the style is direct and simple and the characters are well constructed, with glimpses of John Grisham's and Nora Robert's style.I'd say the novel is perfect for a summer reading or for a lazy stormy Sunday evening, but don't expect a deeper glance into the subjects the author deals with, it's only entertainment, and nothing else. As long as you know that, sit down and enjoy, don't search for enlightenment, because you won't find it in this novel.**SPOILER***As for the final surprise, I regret to tell you that it's quite foreseeable, at least it was crystal clear to me!Pretty well written though, so worth reading it all the same!
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