She’s the golden girl of the New Orleans legal circle. He’s senior assistant district attorney for one of the Louisiana districts and is being tipped as a contender for the top office at the next election. Babies are not part of their game plan – they’d just interfere with their march to the top of the career ladder. But then within days of achieving a lifetime ambition to make partnership status, Rebecca Jacobs discovers she’s pregnant. And then a case emerges which could prove to be a career defining moment for her husband.
It’s a sensitive and emotional case involving a doctor who is accused of letting a child born as a result of an abortion, to die when it could have lived. Both situations force Rebecca and Peter to confront questions about faith and ethics and to re-assess their ideas about their personal priorities.
This in essence is the plot of An Accidental Life, due for publication in September. It’s a plot that has good dramatic potential and in the hands of an accomplished writer would make a thought provoking, challenging novel. Unfortunately this isn’t how it turned out.
The characters of Peter and Rebecca seldom rise beyond the predictable and the cliched and the story takes too long to get going because it’s bogged down in irrelevant detail, Had this not been a review copy, I would have given up at a fairly early stage. Things only perked up when we got into the meat of the murder investigation and particularly the court room scenes which were written with good pace and skill. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the author Pamela Ewen was a practising lawyer for some twenty five years because the arguments for both prosecution and defence have clearly been well researched. It’s not easy to make detailed and complex legal arguments easy for laypeople to follow and keep a strong narrative thrust at the same time but Ewen succeeded well on both counts.
Maybe with a really strong editor, the flaws in the rest of the narrative could be remedied. But as it stands, this wasn’t my cup of tea at all.
About the novel
Publishers: B&H Publishing Group, Nashville Tennessee
Due for publication September 2013
My copy of this novel was provided as a review edition via NetGalley