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The Stranger Behind You    by Carol Goodman order for
Stranger Behind You
by Carol Goodman
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2021 (2021)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

This fascinating story about women and the many ways men abuse them is tightly plotted. Told in alternating chapters by Joan and Melissa, who are far apart socioeconomically, it shows how their lives are slowly drawn together through hate and dislike to friends who find a common goal.

At the same time there is Lillian's earlier story that depicts what women had to go through in the mid 1900s and demonstrates that, in certain ways, not much has changed.

When Joan is attacked she doesn't report it. The long-term effects of this trauma propel her to continue her investigation into Caspar Osgood's activities. Caspar, Melissa's husband, is the subject of Joan's recent exposť of his assaults on women. But it seems as if someone is resolved that she will not find all the answers.

Set in New York City and upstate New York, the story is grounded in two factual incidents. The author's mother was assaulted at the age of 18, which completely changed her attitude about life. (And of course she couldn't tell anyone - he was a doctor). Also, there actually was a Magdalen Laundry and Refuge for Fallen Women, which is part of Lillian's story.

This is a timely story that, while it twists and turns, shows how women can help each other overcome trauma.

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