The challenge of making amends

By Carol / March 15, 2012 /

“Make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”  That’s the ninth step of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program.

THE NINTH STEP, a  novel by Barbara Taylor Sissel, explores the complexity of taking that step through the lives of Cotton O’Dell and his fiance Livie Saunders.

On Cotton’s wedding day, hungover and still drinking, he runs a stop sign, and hits a car carrying a woman and her daughter. Cotton stops long enough to call 911, see the child is unhurt, and talk to the woman as she dies. Then he flees – the scene, the state, the law. His fiance Livie is left at the altar, knowing only because Cotton sends a terse postcard later that he is not dead.

Six years later, Cotton sets out to make amends. But are some actions too awful to be forgiven? Can love lost ever be recaptured? Can he make amends without endangering his own life and the lives of others?

In a novel reminiscent of Jodi Picoult, Sissel introduces us to each of the people impacted by that crash. The action and emotions are intense. The writing is excellent. I cared about the characters. I found myself standing at the stove cooking supper with my Kindle in hand. I just had to know how it turned out.

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