Saturday, June 16, 2007

Forgive Me

Nadine Morgan is a small town girl who could hardly wait to escape the limited life offered by the tiny Cape Cod fishing village known as Woods Hole, Massachusetts. And escape she does, transforming herself into the breed of reporter who seeks danger wherever she can find it anywhere in the world. But something she read in the journal of a young American teacher who was killed in a South African ghetto by a mob of youngsters who took the opportunity to kill a white man that day haunted her and she realized, that like him, she "was just lonely, at the end of the day."

Beaten to within an inch of her life by Mexican drug dealers, Nadine awoke to find herself back in Woods Hole, under the care of her father and his girlfriend for the long recovery that her injuries demanded. But despite the romantic interest taken in her by the town doctor under whose care she finds herself and the slow reconciliation that she is making with her best friend, Nadine cannot wait to leave Woods Hole for another of the world's hot spots. That feeling is nothing new for her because "the story" has always been more important to her than the people who love her and depend on her, a flaw that has contributed to most of the regrets that she has in her life.

It is upon her return to South Africa with the parents of the young American whose journal she was so touched by that Nadine is finally able to forgive herself, and to feel the forgiveness of others, for the decisions that she made during her first assignment there. One of Jason Irving's killers has applied for amnesty and his mother is determined to make sure that the young woman remains in prison for the rest of her life. Covering the story for an American newspaper allows Nadine the opportunity to reconcile herself to her past decisions and relationships and to decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

Nadine Morgan's story is not a simple one, and the most remarkable thing about Forgive Me is the clever structure that Amanda Eyre Ward uses to tell that story. Chapters that alternate between the past, the present, and journal excerpts allow the reader to gradually flesh out the character of Nadine Morgan, a woman who sees professionalism as a willingness to make her personal life a secondary concern regardless of the consequences suffered. Ward provides numerous clues and details about the makeup of Nadine, but even the most careful reader will be delighted by what the author has in store for them at the end of the book.

(As part of Library Thing's Early Reviewers project, I received a copy of the uncorrected proofs of Forgive Me directly from its publisher, Random House, for my review.)

Rated at: 4.0
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