Faith - Jennifer Haigh This is a family drama that was hard to put down. It has an element of suspense I hadn't expected in a story of this nature. Haigh's characters come alive, and her subtle observations about family dynamics are on target. There's also a welcome absence of melodrama, which serves to strengthen the book's effect.The plot crisis occurs in 2002, when the pedophile priest scandal has rocked the Boston Archdiocese. Father Arthur Breen's family is shocked when he is accused of molesting a little boy with whom he has spent a lot of time alone. Arthur's half-sister Sheila McGann narrates the family's history as it relates to the present situation. Their background determines how each family member reacts to the allegations against Arthur. Their mother Mary never doubts for an instant that her gentle Art, her favorite child, is innocent. Sister Sheila at first believes he's innocent. When she learns of long-held secrets she begins to doubt him, then feels ashamed of that doubt. Baby brother Mike is at first hotheaded and quick to believe Art is guilty, feeling revulsion toward his brother. Upon reflection, Mike hatches an ill-advised plan to find out for sure by approaching the mother of the boy, and ends up in hot water himself. Most puzzling of all, Father Arthur Breen refuses to defend himself while facing harsh judgment from the community, fueled by media coverage. The McGanns are a family with a long history of non-communication. They've always harbored painful secrets, and never asked each other the important questions. As Arthur's ordeal unfolds they discover, too late, the consequences of that silence. To those who are wondering if the book takes a religious tone, the answer is NO. Naturally, there are details of Catholicism essential to the plot, but they don't dominate. This is true contemporary fiction, encompassing all the elements of modern life. There's no sermonizing and no whitewashing of reality, just a fine piece of storytelling.