FOR LOVE OF SARAH by Angelica Scott


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 A psychological thriller about murder, incest, and lies from Scott (a pseudonym) that's a bit too puzzling and melodramatic to deliver the kick it tries for. Georgie Hillman is charged with the murder of her husband, Tim. She admits to killing him but insists it was done to stop his sexual abuse of their daughter Sarah. Georgie and her case become a cause cÇläbre for feminists and for attorney Joanna McCarthy. The prosecution argues that Georgie was angry and jealous over Tim and Sarah's close relationship, created the incest story, and then coolly murdered Tim. Some evidence points in this direction (after killing Tim, Georgie bakes muffins, gets Sarah off to a friend's house, doesn't call the police until 14 hours later, and lies when they arrive). The defense's case centers on Tim's alleged incest, while Georgie produces photos which seem to show Tim and Sarah engaged in sexual acts. Throughout, Georgie, as narrator, insists that Tim was a manipulator and liar who saw Sarah as a rival for Georgie's love and therefore hated her. A promising enough plot, but early on you begin to doubt the reliability of long-suffering Georgie. Her many flashbacks portray her as a victim from childhood on through marriage to the dominating Tim. Even in her trial, she's essentially being used by Joanna for political reasons, a fact that Georgie knows and accepts. For every time you believe Georgie, on or off the stand, there's another situation where you think she's making overly dramatic excuses for her own passivity. Is this a novel about the difficulty of ever knowing the truth, even about yourself? Or about selfish motives disguised as martyrdom and victimhood? A disquieting read, unsatisfying and unresolved. You're never sure about Georgie's true motives, and the jury's ruling in no way settles this very central issue.

Pub Date: July 31st, 1995
ISBN: 1-55611-451-6
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Donald Fine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1995