Psychotherapist Frieda Klein’s fourth case is a lot more personal than she’d like, in all the worst ways.
Though they were never friends back at Braxton High School, Madeleine Capel knows all about Frieda’s celebrity (Waiting for Wednesday, 2014, etc.), and she wants her to have a chat with her 15-year-old, Becky, find out why she’s suddenly so withdrawn, and straighten her out. Becky’s not eager to talk to Frieda, but during a second session, she reveals that she’s been raped by an unidentifiable man who told her, “Don’t think of telling anyone, sweetheart. No one will believe you.” The revelation is just as shattering to Frieda as it is to Becky, for 23 years ago, when she was about Becky’s age, Frieda was raped herself by a man who parted from her with the very same words before a desultory investigation by the Braxton police led to the arrest of a man who died years ago in prison. What to do? Frieda begins by telling the friends she thinks most need to know—her builder buddy, Josef; her old analyst, Reuben; her lover in America, Sandy—about her own long-buried secret. Reuben is astonished and pained that she never said anything about this painful episode before, and Sandy’s reaction is, to put it mildly, disconcerting. Determined that the man who raped both Becky and herself be brought to justice, Frieda urges Becky to go to the police. Becky reluctantly agrees, but before she can act on her newfound resolve, her mother finds her hanging from her bedroom ceiling. Stung by Maddie’s furious accusations about her part in the death of her daughter, Frieda returns to Braxton to reopen her own case—and runs smack into a tsunami of new suspicions and rejections among the people she once thought were her friends.
Even though the identification of the murderous rapist is something of a letdown, you’ll ache for Frieda as she tears open old wounds and cheer when she finally shows signs of healing from her lacerations.