The Evidence Against Her
Robb Forman Dew
Little, Brown & Co., 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
he Evidence Against Her
begins in Monument Square in the small town of Washburn, Ohio. There three children are born on the same September day in 1888 - cousins Lily and Warren Scofield, and Robert Butler. They grow up together, with Lily at the center of shared activities. Sometimes '
a word Lily spoke - just the plain, flat sound of it - exploded cleanly into the moment, like a brilliant asterisk glinting through the atmosphere
.' The inseparable threesome evolves when Lily and Robert marry, though Warren does join his friends on their wedding trip. Lily is happy in the belief that Warren will always be within her small circle, and the town concludes that she will remain the love of his life.
owever, it's not primarily their story. The character who made the greatest impression on me was Agnes Claytor, who broke into the threesome to marry Warren. Agnes grows up in a dysfunctional family, with her mother prone to depression and rage against her life and those around her, and her father to occasional violence. However the family does a good job of presenting a united front to the community ... '
Agnes could walk out her front door, shuffling her arms into her coat with her mother's fury flying at her back, or she could leave her house with contempt strung out between her parents like the tension of an ice-laden wire, and arrive forty-five minutes later at school to become instantly absorbed in the issue of the day
n the surface this is a romantic period piece showing the evolution of several families, and their inter-relationships through successive generations - with the first world war and the great 'flu epidemic as background drama. What makes it captivating is the author's superb talent for mood and characterization. Her people are unique and interesting with very human flaws, and, as in real life, they frequently misunderstand each other.
The Evidence Against Her
speaks most strongly of the perceptions (false and true) that people have of each other, how they are moulded by their pasts, and in turn affect succeeding generations. It will make you ponder, and look for more.
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