Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Year She Fell-Alicia Rasley

The Year She Fell
Alicia Rasley
Belle Bridge Books, Nov 15 2010, $14.95
ISBN: 9781611940008

In Virginia at the second Rushmore Presbyterian Church, Brian Warrick shows Minister Ellen Wakefield O'Connor his birth certificate, which states the mother of Adam Paul Wakefield is Ellen. He explains further he was adopted by the Warrick couple. Ellen says she cannot be his biological mother as she was in Washington pregnant with her child Sarah, born only a few moths after she allegedly gave birth to Adam. However, she looks at a photo she has and though not knowing who the mother is, she knows who the father is; her husband Tom.

Confronted by his wife and his biological son, Tom refuses to divulge anything. The truth lies back home in Wakefield, West Virginia where Ellen, her sisters Cathy and Laura and their adopted sibling Teresa grew up in affluence surrounded by poverty. There is where Brian’s letter never made it to Ellen and there is where the mystery of how Cathy died that haunts her surviving siblings might be solved.

This is an engaging regional family drama in which keeping secrets cause more harm than revealing them would have done. The key cast members have diverse personalities especially the three surviving sisters (and to a lesser degree Cathy though her family filters). None of the secrets are difficult to figure out before the story line fully reveals them, which leads to a somewhat linear tale. Still fans will enjoy Alicia Rasley’s The Year She Fell as the Wakefield clan struggles with inconvenient truths.

Harriet Klausner

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