The Stanley family are shattered by the murder of fifteen year old Shep and the subsequent trial of Daniel Robbin but nothing can take the pain away. Then, on the day that would’ve been Shep’s twenty-fifth birthday, his mother Irene decides to reach out to the man who destroyed her life and forgives him. They correspond with each other for over a decade until the state finally arranges Daniel’s execution date. A distraught Irene begs the prison warden to allow her to visit Daniel and this becomes increasingly more important when Irene discovers a few family secrets.
I have to admit I guessed the reason behind the murder fairly early on as there were plenty of hints along the way. It didn’t destroy my enjoyment of the book, in fact it enhanced it, and my sympathy for certain characters grew, while lessening for others. The subject matter is very American and I’ve read reviews from other readers who were upset by the heavy handed politics threaded throughout. Not being American, I can’t say they bothered me all that much and I agreed with some of them.
The ending is inevitable and there is a definite sense of doom throughout, but anything else would’ve spoiled it. I cried at the end, something I don’t do that often. I’m looking forward to reading more of this author’s books.