In Schumann’s debut, a woman unravels the truth behind the traumatic rape case that shattered her family almost 10 years earlier.
Each summer for years the Gregory family returned to their cabin at Eagle Lake, an idyllic summer resort town full of swimming and square-dancing; the kind of place where time moves in slow motion. But when Katie Gregory is 15, her father is accused of raping her best friend, Lulu Henderson, at their summer cabin and is then convicted and sent to prison, poisoning Katie’s memories of Eagle Lake and upending her young adulthood, though she's convinced of his innocence. Now Katie is 24 and living a relatively normal life in Manhattan—a well-paid consulting job, a committed boyfriend—but everything shifts as her father’s release date approaches. Reporters hound her; she struggles to keep the secret hidden from her boyfriend and colleagues. And when Katie's father asks her to prepare their Eagle Lake cabin for his return, she discovers stowed-away letters about the trial that provoke questions about her father’s innocence. As she pores over the court transcript and reconnects with the author of those letters—Jack Benson, a love interest from that summer who, unbeknownst to Katie, had testified at the trial—she dives deep into the vivid, multilayered memories of that summer to examine her friendship with Lulu and discern the truth. Eventually, she must come face to face with her father to hear his version of that summer’s events for the first time and possibly revise the way she views the foundations of her own life. Schumann’s is a carefully-constructed novel that skillfully weaves past and present, slowly planting clues that help unlock the narrative’s central mystery while ratcheting up tension. Though the prose is often plain, the fast-moving plot and compelling, layered characters make for an addictive and incredibly timely read.
A page-turner that also speaks to broader questions of sexual abuse, family loyalty, and the mutability of memory.