Billie Starr’s Book of Sorries

Flatiron. Oct. 2022. 320p. ISBN 9781250138439. $27.99. F
Fired for defending herself from a sexual assault by her boss, Jenny Newberg is desperate to find a way to support herself and her bright young daughter, Billie Starr. Finding work is nearly impossible when other business owners blacklist her in their small Indiana town. When strangers approach her with a proposition to seduce a candidate running for governor, she accepts the job. The promised payment never appears, but the candidate, charmed by her beauty, tracks her down and convinces her to work for him at his campaign headquarters. As they get ready for the election season, Jenny spends less time with her daughter and relies on family and friends to help watch Billie Starr. On the night of the campaign launch party, Billie Starr goes missing, and Jenny must overcome her fear of inadequacy to find the confidence within herself to save her daughter.
VERDICT Kennedy’s second novel (after Edgar-nominated Tornado Weather) adeptly delves into the intricacies of interpersonal relationships within small-town life, much like Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge.
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