Book review: ‘The Magic Hour’ by Kristin Hannah

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

When one of Dr. Julia Cates’ pediatric patients committed a horrific murder, she was sued on the basis that she must have known her patient’s mental state, or if not, she should have. After a year of dealing with the media and having her standing as a leading child psychologist ruined, the judge ruled that she could not be held responsible and released her from the case. The damage was done.

As Julia was struggling to gain her equilibrium, she got an emergency call from her estranged sister, Ellie, a small-town police chief, asking for her help. A 5- or 6-year-old girl had shown up in the town square, dirty, malnourished and holding a wolf pup. She either couldn’t or wouldn’t talk. Instead she growled and howled.

Upon her arrival, Julia found that the child not only exhibited the characteristics mentioned but she had the scarring characteristic of severe abuse. The plan of the sisters was two-fold. Julia would attempt to gain the child’s confidence to the point she would talk and tell who she was. At the same time, Ellie would work with the media in the hopes that her parents would recognize their daughter and come forth.

Julia’s plan hit a roadblock when it became apparent that the girl was either a “wild child” or close to it. There was no assurance that she even had language. Ellie’s plan went awry when the media discovered that disgraced Julia was involved in the case. As Julia slowly began to make progress, she discovered that the girl had rudimentary language and an uncanny ability to mimic. Ellie met one roadblock after another. As the media attention began to wane, no parents were forthcoming. Pressure was building to place the child in a residential setting where she could be studied and presumably receive more specialized help.

In a somewhat separate storyline, personal relationships were explained and examined. There was an explanation of the sisters’ estrangement — Julia’s traumatic past and Ellie’s failed marriages. There were continual hints that the handsome doctor had trauma in his past. And if that is not enough, there was the mystery of the “wild child.”

As the novel progresses, the story lines begin to merge. The untamed girl becomes enamored with being read to, especially “Alice in Wonderland,” and was thus given the name Alice. The sisters realized that they had many characteristics and goals in common. The doctor becomes involved with the case and begins to feel emotions again. And still there are problems to come.

Comments are closed.

  • Special protocol will be followed at Wilton blood drive

    March 24th, 2020
    by

    We want to share with donors the protocol being followed at the April 4 blood drive in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.


    Book review: ‘A Place for Us’ by Fartima Farheen Mirza

    March 18th, 2020
    by

    I found this book somewhat difficult to read, yet completely worth the effort. In order to properly tell the story, it is told from the viewpoint of several of the characters and at various times in their lives, and this is intermingled throughout the novel.


    Vehicle partly submerged in Kickapoo after alcohol-related accident

    March 18th, 2020
    by

    A vehicle went off Highway 131 and into the Kickapoo River on Tuesday, and Vernon County police say alcohol was a factor in the crash.


    Book review: ‘The Nickel Boys’ by Colson Whitehead

    March 11th, 2020
    by

    Elwood Curtis, under the watchful eye of his grandmother, was a good young man, a young man who did what he was supposed to do.


    N-O-W postpones decision on staff cuts

    March 11th, 2020
    by

    Though it had planned to vote in March on whether to cut three elementary-school teaching positions, the Norwalk-Ontario-Wilton Board of Education has postponed its decision to its April meeting.


  • Brookwood to present ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ this weekend

    March 10th, 2020
    by

    Brookwood’s performances of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” a stage adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ novel, are slated for 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the school’s Classic Gym.


    Book review: ‘A Man Lay Dead’ by Ngaio Marsh

    March 4th, 2020
    by

    The game was named “Murders.” None of the participants knew who was “it.”


    How does the Monroe County Health Department respond to disease outbreaks?

    March 2nd, 2020
    by

    With COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreading worldwide, many people are concerned about their health and wellbeing.


    Monroe County weight restrictions start Wednesday

    March 2nd, 2020
    by

    The Monroe County Highway Department will implement seasonal weight restrictions on all county trunk highways beginning Wednesday, March 4.


    Headricks plead to two counts

    February 26th, 2020
    by

    Amy and Travis Headrick of Melvina recently pleaded guilty to two counts of neglecting a child and one count of false imprisonment.


    Monroe County WIC to issue benefits

    February 26th, 2020
    by

    The Monroe County Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will issue benefits and offer nutrition education days in March.


  • Archives