Kathleen Kelley grew up in a sheltered and deeply religious family in Omaha, Nebraska. Her strict parents placed well-intended expectations on her, and their daughter grew up to be very naive. When Kathleen follows her boyfriend to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, she cuts ties with her family and entrusts her future to someone she does not know very well. He quickly proves to be a poor choice, and Kathleen soon finds herself alone and penniless. She begins dancing and becomes a cocaine addict, eventually prostituting herself.
Although Kathleen is miserable at the turn in her life, she finds a glimmer of hope in her daughter. Sadly, one of her johns violates her trust and kidnaps her child, molesting the girl before killing her. Kathleen is heartbroken, but the police and media rapidly condemn her as the murderer. She does not refute her negligence, but Kathleen venomously denies committing the heinous murder.
Though most people in Cumberland County persecute Kathleen, her public defender does not believe that someone who had previously trained to become a nun would later kill her daughter. He works to clear her name and to find the criminal; he also falls in love with his client. Throughout her ordeal, Kathleen must find the strength to forgive herself for her past life in order to start anew as an exonerated citizen and loved wife.
The Forgiven is the second novel in Edward Vaughn’s “Cumberland County Series.”
Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.