The Third Child
By Marge Piercy
(William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780066211169, 352pp.)
Publication Date: December 1, 2003
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In the politically prominent Dickinson family, ambition comes first, and Melissa, the third child, has always felt that she comes last. Going away to college offers her a chance at a life free from her brilliant mother's constant scrutiny and her famous father's lack of interest.
There she meets Blake, a man of mixed race and apparently unknown parentage. His adoptive parents are lawyers whose defense of death- row cases has brought them head-to-head with Melissa's father, the former governor of Pennsylvania who is now a U.S. senator.
Melissa and Blake's attraction is immediate; their affair, fiery. Yet Blake is keeping a dangerous secret from Melissa, one that could destroy them -- and their families.
Dealing with themes of love, honesty, identity, and the consequences of ambition, this thoughtful, beautifully written story is a remarkable and provocative page-turner.