When your luck runs out, who can help you pick up the pieces? Can you really trust that person?
In Campbell’s latest novel (The Good Sister, 2010, etc.), Madora grows up in a small Arizona town on the edges of the desert where her father shot himself years before. Madora’s mother retreats into her own grief, leaving Madora feeling orphaned. So she finds friends to replace her parents and drugs to numb her pain. One night after a bad experience with drugs out in the desert, Madora’s partying friends also abandon her. Shaken and nearly dead, she looks up to see an angel. No, not an angel, but Willis, who scoops her up out of her life and drops her into his life. And that’s when her luck really runs out. Willis offers Madora the security she craves with his experience as a Marine medic, his confident manner, his secure job as a home health-care provider and his ambition to become a doctor. Happy in their isolated home out in Evers Canyon, Madora rescues and nurtures small animals. The serenity is shattered, though, when Willis brings home Linda, a pregnant young woman, and locks her in the trailer out back. Claiming that Linda needs someone to take care of her, Willis convinces Madora that only he can help Linda, only he can keep her safe. Doubts begin to creep into Madora’s mind, yet she continues to try to trust Willis, to please Willis, to love Willis. The arrival of young, recently orphaned Django one afternoon brings a friend into her life. Django helps Madora realize that she can no longer trust Willis, and she can no longer wait to be rescued. She has to act.
The novel sensitively portrays Madora’s misplaced love and her awakening to the truth about Willis. Yet the denouement is rushed, leaving the reader wondering how discovering the truth led to finding justice.