This novel takes on the big ugly issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and gives in a personal spin from a viewpoint rarely seen—that of the family of one of the accused priests.
The McGanns are a devout Catholic family, but when eldest son, Arthur, a popular priest in Boston, is accused of sexually molesting a seven-year-old boy, his parents and siblings are divided regarding his innocence or guilt. Art’s mother, a proper Irish Catholic woman raised to revere priests, never wavers in her belief in her son’s innocence. But Mike, his younger brother, an ex-cop, who believes there is no smoke without fire, instantly jumps to the conclusion that his brother is guilty and won’t even talk to him to hear his side of the story, instead he worms his way into the life of the mother of the victim in an attempt to get the boy’s side of the story. And Sheila, the narrator the story, rushes back to Boston, determined to stand by her brother, whose innocence she never doubts, but is troubled by his refusal to defend himself against the allegations although he swears he is innocent.
Unlike Ms. Haigh’s previous novel, The Condition, which I found extremely slow-paced and hard to get through, this interesting family drama moves along at a good pace and held my interest throughout.