This is an exciting blog post for me because it's the first time that somebody I currently work with has written a book!
On the surface, you would not think that Pippa and Emily have much in common--Pippa is a young, pregnant cult member from the Deep South, on trial for negligence concerning the accidental death of her infant; Emily is the reserved New England-born nurse charged with overseeing Pippa's pre-natal care. Beneath their facades, however, the reader gradually comes to realize a key similarity running soul-deep in both. Orphaned either figuratively or literally, each woman is haunted by a childhood shaped by loneliness and guilt and left on her own to grapple with the deeds (and misdeeds) of her parents. It's a testament to Meeropol's skill that the parallel stories of Emily and Pippa unfold layer by layer as their lives become inexorably more entwined with each other, holding the reader in thrall until the very end.
Ellen and I have worked together for four years, and I count it as a great privilege that she gave me the book in manuscript form to read many long months ago. When her advanced reading copies became available, I was first in line to get one inscribed (literally--it was the very first book she signed to anyone!). It's been fun being along for the ride and sharing in her enthusiasm during the whole process, from getting the book contract to being interviewed and getting a starred review in Publisher's Weekly. And just a few days ago on one of the book blogs I subscribe to, I read my first full online review, bringing the process full circle.