The Abortionist's Daughter
By Elisabeth Hyde
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307263667, 304pp.)
Publication Date: June 20, 2006
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Elisabeth Hyde has taken a powerful moral predicament and constructed around it a richly layered, compulsively readable novel about a murder in a small Colorado town, about the choices we make and the way their unintended consequences ripple through our lives.
Two weeks before Christmas, Diana Duprey, an outspoken abortion doctor, is found floating in her pool, a bruise the size of a golf ball visible through her dark curls. A national figure, Diana inspired passion and ignited tempers, never more so than on the day of her death.
Her husband, Frank, an attorney in the D.A.’s office for more than twenty years, had fought bitterly with her on the day of her murder. Yet to reveal the nature of their fight would cost him not only his career but something greater still—a relationship he will go to any lengths to protect. Diana’s daughter, Megan, a college freshman, had also quarreled with Diana that day, and her role in her mother’s murder will prove more significant than she ever could have anticipated. The Reverend Stephen O’Connell, founder of the town’s pro-life coalition, obviously had issues with Diana, but his anger extended beyond the political to the personal—namely, Dr. Duprey’s involvement with his own troubled teenager. Meanwhile, the detective on the case grapples to make sense of it all. His investigation implicates many in this town and reveals a series of gross miscalculations, each one challenging what we know, or think we know, about community, fidelity, justice, and love.
A riveting and provocative page-turner: a novel of stunning economy and momentum by a writer poised for wide discovery.
Elisabeth Hyde is the author of three previous novels, including Crazy as Chocolate. Born and raised in New Hampshire, she has since lived in Vermont, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle. In 1979 she received her law degree and practiced briefly with the U.S. Department of Justice. She has taught creative writing in the public schools as well as through Naropa University. She currently lives with her husband and three children in Colorado, where she is at work on her fifth novel.
“Do you remember the excitement you felt when you read Presumed Innocent and discovered Scott Turow? I felt exactly that way as I read The Abortionist’s Daughter. Elisabeth Hyde is a dynamic storyteller and an elegant stylist–and I savored every moment of this smart and powerful thriller.”
—Chris Bohjalian, author of Midwives and Before You Know Kindness
“This is ferociously paced, up-all-night suspense, an exquisitely wrought murder mystery that’s also richly layered and morally complex, as intelligent and provocative as it is impossible to put down. Elisabeth Hyde is a master.”
—Joseph Finder, author of Company Man and Killer Instinct
“When a headstrong mother and teenage daughter collide, the result is murder. But Elisabeth Hyde’s witty and original family drama is more than that–it is a whodunit of the heart.”
—April Smith, author of Good Morning, Killer and North of Montana
“[Hyde] thoughtfully explores the illusion of choice and spins a tale rife with tragic consequences. . . . What a pleasure it is to read this well-crafted novel with complicated characters and interesting ideas.”
—Boston Sunday Globe
“It is precisely Elisabeth Hyde’s arresting prose and astute observations about family life that elevate her fourth novel to domestic tragedy. . . . Hyde is an author who should be with us for some time.”
—The Washington Post Book World
“Hyde does a terrific job fleshing out her characters and dissecting all their problems. . . . A satisfying story.”
“The Abortionist’s Daughter explores the subtleties of belief , in the ways in which even seeming extremists can amend and alter their convictions without losing them. . . . Political controversy aside, this is a mystery that works, one whose turns are neither obvious nor illogical . . . and Hyde’s ability to grapple with loaded issues without putting the story second is impressive.”
—The Austin Chronicle
“In keeping with the truly best writers, Hyde examines both sides of the issue, but offers only questions that probe deep into the secret hearts of readers everywhere. For answers, they will have to turn to themselves. . . . It is this judicious handling of such a compelling and timely subject that makes The Abortionist’s Daughter the first must-read of the summer.”
—The Denver Post
“Hyde treads controversial territory with delicacy and precision.”
—The Baltimore Sun
“A great summer read.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“This is an exceptionally well-written book that pulls the reader nicely along right up until the surprise ending.”
“An intriguing story. The relationships Diana had with her family and associates are carefully disclosed in a way that adds credibility to the plot and depth to the characters.”