Dr. Jerry Simpson brings a traumatised girl named Inez, who may be autistic, back to Canada from Guatemala as an act of compassion. He is unable to establish exactly what has happened in her past, but in a country torn apart by civil war it is clear the girl who lives in a box has seen or experienced terrible things. When Inez turns on Jerry and kills him partner Caitlin desperately needs to find out why this terrible incident occurred so she can forgive and move on with her life.
Inez becomes a cause celebre during her trial, provoking discussion about whether Jerry was right to remove her from her homeland and about what he must have done to provoke her fury. She exudes a compelling and innocent aura that draws people to her. Almost worse than being locked up in a bleak hospital in the north of the country Inez is locked within herself. Can Caitlin find it in herself to forgive and help the girl she once loved?
This book is beautifully written with some wonderful, atmospheric descriptions, particularly of Guatemala and the frozen land around the hospital Inez finds herself in. The subject matter was very interesting and with elements of psychological drama as well as a mystery to be solved, and some exotic locales it was a winning combination for me. I was slightly concerned that the way the girl had been living would be heavily dramatised and be the main focus but instead it was on discovering what was wrong with Inez, why and how to help her in order to discover the truth.
The majority of the story is narrated from Caitlin's perspective, in the first person, or from Jerry's viewpoint in the third person. This allows the reader to appreciate the struggle she is going through after her partner's death, as well as providing the full story of how Inez came to be in his home. I could totally appreciate her need to discover what had caused the fatal event, particularly with many people assuming Jerry provoked it by making an advance on the girl. The book was well paced and, while I wanted to read on to find out if my suspicions were right, there was time to enjoy the scenery on the way.
I found this a very enjoyable read with so many of the elements I like in a novel. Despite the subject matter I put the book down feeling uplifted and positive. If the description piques your interest then this is a book I would happily recommend.
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