Book Review || Salem Falls By Jodi Picoult

Jack St. Bride was once a beloved teacher and soccer coach at a girls’ prep school – until a student’s crush sparked a powder keg of accusation and robbed him of his career and reputation. Now, after a devastatingly public ordeal that left him with an eight-month jail sentence and no job, Jack resolves to pick up the pieces of his life. He takes a job washing dishes at Addie Peabody’s diner and slowly starts to form a relationship with her in the quiet New England village of Salem Falls. But just when Jack thinks he has outrun his past, a quartet of teenage girls with a secret turn his world upside down once again, triggering a modern-day witch hunt in a town haunted by its own history…

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Although I haven’t picked up a Jodi Picoult since my mid teens, there was something about reading one anew that I found refreshing. Famed for writing My Sister’s Keeper, which would later become a hit film, I used to read the occasional novel from her ever extending list of works – from her website, the author has reached 26 separate books, five of which have been made into films. I’ve read a handful of her stories in the past and although they’re all very absorbing and detailed, they can sometimes get a bit repetitive, meaning that gaps between them is probably advised.

One thing I like about a Picoult novel is that she does a LOT of research. The stories nearly always delve into very serious and sometimes quite dark matters, but seem factually quite accurate (correct me if I’m wrong, this is what I’ve read between the lines). Even in Salem Falls there’s a great balance of characters, interweaving themes and description, without letting on straight away who to like and dislike.

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Take Salem Falls as a holiday read, something to get caught up in, but not the most intricate or believable, it’s still a good story.

From the blurb I’d expected it to be a bit naff and unrealistic – as in, reallllly, could a man get himself into a situation twice where he’s falsely accused of rape? Then you carry on reading (actually surprisingly quickly, it’s one of those where the chapters fly by) and it does all fit together. Though the topic is controversial (as all Jodi Picoult novels tend to be!), she handles it with ease, showing varying perspectives and with a few plot twists thrown in to set you off balance. From the reviews I’ve seem a lot of outrage at the portrayal of Wicca throughout, but as I don’t know enough about it, I found it interesting all the same. Plus the ending was good, and I actually didn’t see it coming…let’s leave it at that!

It just shows how the power of a lie can sometimes run at such speed, even when you try and take it back, the truth cannot catch up to it.

Rating: 7/10

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