Thirty-year-old Roxanne Cary sits in a courtroom in San Diego waiting for the jury to return with a verdict ending the trial of her twenty-five-year-old sister Sheila Duran.
Sheila, seven months pregnant, has been on trial for the attempted murder of her three children, six-year-old Merell, three-year-old Valli, and the thirteen-month-old baby, Olivia.
Roxanne will help her sister come to terms with her illness, and together they will confront ghosts that have haunted their family for generations.
Drusilla Campbell is the author of three critically acclaimed novels: Wildwood, The Edge of Sky, and Blood Orange.
Before she started school she had crossed the Pacific Ocean three times.
In her twenties she lived in Europe and Central America.
Today she's happy to stay at home in San Diego with her husband, the attorney and poet Art Campbell, two rescued dogs, and three horses.
A mother on trial for the attempted murder of her children opens Campbell's piercing latest. The story shifts back in time to explore Simone Duran's childhood with her sister, Roxanne, and their self-absorbed mother and also Simone's life as a stay-at-home mom suffering from post-partum depression. Simone's neglect of infant daughter Olivia, who she lets lie in her crib crying for hours on end, tears at the heart, but while Simone's mothering is disturbing, Campbell highlights the underlying factors that have pushed Simone to this edge, giving the story balance. Simone's macho husband prevents her seeking treatment while he imposes pregnancy after pregnancy on her in his desire to finally have a son. Add Roxanne's overprotectiveness of Simone, and you have a completely dependent woman. Campbell burns through Simone's struggles and also those of Roxanne in haunting, graphic detail. This portrait of the inner life of a woman whose psychotic state led her to believe that killing her children and herself would have been best for all of them should be on everyone's book club list