by Jane Hamilton
This quietly haunting story is about a family, Alice and Howard, and their two daughters. They've recently moved to a small midwestern town to follow Howard's dream of being a dairy farmer. Unfortunately, Alice soon alienates the local people against her. Right as the story unfolds, her best friend and neighbors' daughter drowns in her backyard pond. Then she is accused of sexually abusing a child at the school where she works as a nurse. On the one hand dealing with profound guilt over a child's death, and on the other facing a courtroom full of people who think she's committed the most sordid act against another child, Alice struggles to hold onto her sanity and keep her family together while facing the ostracism of the entire town. A Map of the World can be depressing and heart-wrenching, or a startling clear look at how one small mistake can trigger other events and escalate into an unforseen catastrophe.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 390 pages, 1995