Book Of Genesis: A Novel, derives its title from the protagonist, Genesis Platt. Beyond its theme of justice, the story explores how bonds of friendship, forged in adolescence, can withstand the challenges of time, distance - and betrayal.
Genesis is a successful Manhattan divorce lawyer: work-obsessed, reserved, and confident she can handle any case. After her estranged former roommate from prep school, the wealthy Blaire Abbott, asks Genesis to represent her in her divorce, Genesis decides she can handle Blaire's case, too. Decades of guilt weigh on her decision. She believes that Blaire, now Head of School of the all-girls’ Sturton Academy where they were students together, never would have married Connor Sanchez, a long-time Sturton faculty member, if Genesis had told Blaire the truth: that Connor had repeatedly molested the teenage Genesis.
Genesis has spent the past twenty years not dwelling on the past and has no intention of revisiting it now. She is convinced that Blaire’s divorce will settle with minimal face-to-face contact. But memories of Sturton begin to haunt her. Her landlord and friend, Travis Mann, a well-known personal injury lawyer, gently asks what’s troubling her; she demurs. Genesis dives into the case and soon learns that Connor has removed millions of dollars from joint accounts with Blaire. Connor asserts that the reason for huge, unexplained deposits and withdrawals into the marital accounts is that he is a gambling addict.
As the divorce case proceeds, Genesis’s confrontations with Connor revive searing memories of their history. And when she discovers that Connor’s predatory practices at Sturton were neither limited to her, nor to the past, she must decide how to obtain justice for the other women Connor abused, if not for herself. Her path forward is complicated by her renewed friendships with Blaire and a fellow survivor. Genesis's quest for justice does not include forgiveness, but she must learn to trust again if she is ever to accept herself.
Book of Genesis endured more than the usual intrusions into this writer's focus. Personal loss, the #MeToo movement, a reported rape from the 1990's at my alma mater, revelations of pervasive abuse in numerous private schools across the country, a barrage of public exposès into celebrity abuse, horrific disclosures of additional Catholic clergy abuse, and the contentious Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings -- all these things occurred as I toiled away on this novel. Then, shortly after I completed my manuscript, the long-awaited Child Victims Act was passed by the New York State Legislature. New York has finally joined the ranks of nearly every other state in the United States by greatly extending the statute of limitations for abuse survivors to seek judicial redress, since the vast majority of survivors cannot face what happened to them for many decades. I gladly revised the manuscript to incorporate these long-overdue changes to the law.
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Copyright Terri L. Weiss. All rights reserved.