From Publishers Weekly
Short story writer Gayle makes her debut as a novelist with this chronicle of a young, liberal New York lawyer who starts over in the South. The daughter of a famous civil rights champion, Natalie Goldberg stuns her parents by moving to Bibb County, Ga., to work as a prosecutor. The job was initially Natalie's excuse to flee her position at a Manhattan law firm after having an affair with partner Henry Tate and finding herself the scapegoat for a mistake he made. Though Natalie has some trouble acclimating to her new environs, and she butts heads with co-counsel, good ol' boy Ben Maddox, she slowly warms to life in Bibb County while attempting to balance her anti–death penalty stance with her desire to win a capital case. Natalie's dilemmas are perfectly played, and Gayle's economical prose is peppered with sharp sentences (also a few duds: I felt as if I had been born full woman, Athena from Zeus's brow, with heavy breasts and dark pubic hair as curly as that atop my head) and clever fish-out-of-water observations. Don't be fooled by the ditzy jacket art. (July)
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Having suffered professional and personal humiliation at the hands of her boss and lover, promising young attorney Natalie Goldberg beats a hasty retreat from the prestigious Manhattan securities law firm where her career precipitously derailed from its fast track and surprises everyone by taking a low-paying, demanding, and unglamorous position as a district attorney in Macon, Georgia. Not only is Natalie a card-carrying Yankee liberal, she is also the daughter of a respected civil rights lawyer, and her sudden career change mystifies her conservative southern colleagues as much as it outrages her father. Alone in a new city, essentially friendless, and nursing a broken heart, Natalie doesn't think things could get much worse until she is appointed cocounsel for a death-penalty case, a position that goes against everything she believes. In this finely crafted debut novel, Gayle evinces a superb mastery of character development, rendering Natalie's various crises of faith with empathic authenticity, endearing humor, and enviable grace. Carol HaggasCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved