Publisher: Washington Square Press
A handsome stranger comes to the sleepy New England town of Salem Falls in hopes of burying his past: Once a teacher at a girls prep school, Jack St. Bride was destroyed when a student’s crush sparked a powder keg of accusation. Now, washing dishes for Addie Peabody at the Do-Or-Dinner, he slips quietly into his new routine, and Addie finds this unassuming man fitting easily inside her heart.
Amid the rustic calm of Salem falls, a quartet of teenage girls harbor dark secrets – and they maliciously target Jack with a shattering allegation. Now, at the center of a modern-day witch hunt, Jack is forced once again to proclaim his innocence: to a town searching for answers, to a justice system where truth becomes a slippery concept written in shades of gray, and to the woman who has come to love him.
Salem Falls is a fast-paced page-turner with more plot twists than a rollercoaster. Jodi Picoult is not timid with those taboo topics such as the short comings of the legal system, people’s harsh judgement, rape, incest, etc.; in fact Jodi Picoult often tackles subjects that most people don’t want to think about let alone write about. Her stories don’t always have happy endings and they’re so full of truth that it’s almost painful to be a witness too. It’s true that the good guy doesn’t always win, sometimes evil does, and sometimes what we all believe to be right really isn’t in the end.
Salem Falls really calls into question what we believe and why we’re inclined to believe those things. That’s what I really love about Jodi Picoult’s books: I love that they’re filled with interesting characters and situations. I love that there is always two sides of the story and I really, really love that sometimes the side that you’d believe was wrong isn’t really as bad as you think it would be.
This isn’t one of her stronger books despite how much I love what she calls into question. The characters lack some realism and dimension which is why I’ve only rated this four stars instead of five. There are definitely aspects to the main characters that have left me wanting more. Jack and Addie’s relationship falls flat in a lot of places and though it’s sweet and romantic they’ve found each other I just find that they don’t fit well together. However, that being said, Addie’s faithfulness and righteousness are very heartwarming. I love it when you have a main female character that hasn’t fallen apart and become a complete mess on the floor, however there are definitely aspects to her story that don’t make much sense and parts were I seriously questioned her mental sanity!
Also, wow! What an ending, I definitely did not see the interaction between two of characters at the end. I also wasn’t expecting to be so creeped out and disgusted by the behaviour of some people more than I already had been at that point. Though part of the ending made me feel slightly uncomfortable in the wake of its truth it was important to the story and to the understanding of intent of one of the main characters. It definitely help explains why what happens happened.