A family takes on the challenge for caring for two abused children in this inspiring debut novel.
After finding out that 4-year-old Katie has been sexually abused by her father and witnessed her mother’s murder, Matthew and Carolyn O’Gorman adopt and raise their niece as if she were their own child. But as Katie struggles to deal with the violent memories of her mother’s death and the horrible abuse she’s endured at the hands of her father, she tests her adoptive parents’ patience with her jealous nature and cruel temper. When Luis, another abused child, enters their lives, the O’Gorman family accepts him with open arms—Katie most of all. Together, Katie and Luis form a friendship, and eventually a relationship, as they help each other recover from the unspeakable things they’ve had to endure. Rosa’s novel, inspired by her interest in child abuse cases, offers readers a glimpse into the lives of those affected by abuse. From Katie’s inability to distinguish fantasy from reality to her Aunt Carolyn’s unfailing patience and accepting nature, Rosa provides a subjective view of the bad and the good. While some readers will be intimidated by the wordy nature of this mammoth 750-page novel, and the confusing tendency to shift between the present and the past, others will appreciate the honesty and gentleness that Rosa weaves into each sentence. Although some characters come across as one-dimensional, the author does a great job of acknowledging Katie’s struggles and balances them with her accomplishments. The novel’s optimistic conclusion allows the reader to see the extent of Katie’s growth, providing hope that real-life abused children may fare as well as she.
Readers who find themselves riveted by stories like Sybil and A Beautiful Mind will likely enjoy this absorbing, but long-winded, novel.