A Novel

Book - 2007
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From the internationally acclaimed author of The White Bone and The Romantic , a haunting and suspenseful novel of abduction and obsessive love   Nine-year-old Rachel Fox has the face of an angel, a heart-stopping luminosity that strikes all who meet her. Her single mother, Celia, working at a video store by day and a piano bar by night, is not always around to shield her daughter from the attention--both benign and sinister--that her beauty draws. Attention from model agencies, for example, or from Ron, a small-appliance repairman who, having seen Rachel once, is driven to see her again and again.
When a summer blackout plunges the city into darkness and confusion, Rachel is taken from her home. A full-scale search begins, but days pass with no solid clues, only a phone call Celia receives from a woman whose voice she has heard before but cannot place. And as Celia fights her terror and Rachel starts to trust in her abductor's kindness, the only other person who knows where she is wavers between loyalty to the captor and saving the child. Will Rachel be found before her abductor's urge to protect and cherish turns to something altogether less innocent?
Tapping into the fear that lies just below the surface of contemporary city life, Barbara Gowdy draws on her trademark empathy and precision to create a portrait of love at its most consuming and ambiguous and to uncover the volatile point at which desire gives way to the unthinkable.
Publisher: Toronto : Metropolitan Books ; HarperCollins, 2007.
ISBN: 9780805082883
Branch Call Number: FICTION GOW


From Library Staff

"Helpless" is a tension-filled, page turning thriller. Celia, a single mom, works two jobs to provide a loving and safe home for her angelic, 9 year old daughter, Rachel. Ron, an appliance repairman, lurks on the edge of their lives. Then Rachel disappears.

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loonylovesgood Apr 17, 2013

Hard to put down, but also hard to read in parts. I thought the ending was a little too abrupt. Still, the writing was good and I'd read another by her.

samdog123 Aug 16, 2011

I've never read any previous titles of Barbar Gowdy, a Canadian author, but I certainly enjoyed this one! Celia and Rachel are mother and daughter living in Toronto. As a single mother, Celia struggles to make ends meet, but makes a good home for her daughter with the help of a kind friend and landlord, Mika. When Ron, a single repair man, encounters the beautiful girl Rachel, he becomes enamoured of her and kidnaps her to "save" her. Eventually Ron faces up to the fact that his impulses are the ones Rachel needs to fear. Good flow, enjoyable read.

Apr 06, 2011

A look at the struggles of a pedofile's struggle to contain urges.

AD_Library Aug 22, 2009

This title is not for the faint of heart, as Barbara Gowdy reaches deep into the subject of pedophilia.

But the writing is brilliant and the tale is well told and the reality is, these situations do exist.

4 and a half starts out of 5.

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