Seventeen-year-old Olivia Peters has just won a writing contest, sponsored by a famous novelist, Boston celebrity priest, Father Mark Brendan. The prize: a $10,000 scholarship, publication of her story, and best of all a coveted seat in the handsome, charismatic priest’s elite summer writing seminar. Olivia is thrilled and completely overwhelmed by this honor---as is everyone around her; the nuns at school, her friends, and her mother, a novelist in her own right, and enthusiastic Father Mark fan.
Olivia’s feeling of being “positively shined upon by fate” blooms, as Father Mark takes her under his wing, helping her edit her story and ready it for publishing. His exacting assignments challenge her, and she is determined to earn his praise and ever-increasing proprietary affection.
When Olivia begins dating Jamie, an attractive college boy who also has gotten into Father Mark’s seminar, the affectionate, protective mentoring with Father Mark changes. He begins calling, emailing and texting Olivia, escalating from once or twice a day, to dozens of times. His mentoring becomes creepy and obsessive; he will not leave her alone.
As his grip becomes relentless and claustrophobic, everyone around her tells Olivia how lucky she is, how blessed to be smiled upon by the famous Father Mark—and Olivia must summon the courage to face the truth; first, with herself, and then with the world.
Freitas’s fast-paced story captures the abuse of power and its frightening effects on the victim, as dizzying gratitude spins into uncertainty, fear and self-doubt. This is an alarming, intimate read that will resonate with all women, not just teens.
Reviewed by: Leslie Rush, Teacher, Texas, USA