The Book of Essie, by Meghan Maclean Weir.
Except that Essie has announced to her mother that she is pregnant. Instead of asking who the father is, Celia treats her with contempt and confers with her producers as to how to manage The Problem: send Essie away? Pretend she is pregnant again? Or try to arrange a love-at-first-sight romance and a speedy marriage for Essie to a suitable, paid-off bridegroom, with a televised wedding that will send the ratings into the stratosphere? The latter is the best idea, especially when Essie has struck up an unlikely friendship with the school baseball hero: he wants to leave their small town and attend a prestigious New York university but has no chance for his parents are nearly bankrupt. They should be easily persuaded – money can buy anything, especially silence.
But Essie has no intention of remaining silent: she will decide the most opportune time to announce publicly the news that she has been raped repeatedly, and by whom. It has to have maximum impact, and could there be anything more public than to make the announcement to the hundreds who will cram the church and wait outside, and the millions watching and sighing at her beauty on TV. Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.
Ms Weir’s debut novel is a superb evocation of goodness spoiled, faith mocked, and money as the only God worth worshiping. She exposes mercilessly the distorted values of today’s 21st century society, its double standards and hypocrisy. She is a great and fearless writer. SIX STARS