#BookReview: The Guilty One by Sophie Littlefield

Reviewer: Annie

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The guilty one 8 10 15Summary:

From the award-winning author of The Missing Place—in which “Littlefield’s writing shines” (The Boston Globe)—another gripping exploration of the damage people can do to each other, and the resilience they find in themselves.

A man stands on the Golden Gate Bridge, poised to jump…if a woman on the other end of the phone tells him to.

Maris’s safe suburban world was shattered the day her daughter was found murdered, presumably at the hands of the young woman’s boyfriend. Her marriage crumbling, her routine shattered, Maris walks away from her pampered life as a Bay Area mom the day she receives a call from Ron, father of her daughter’s killer. Wracked with guilt over his son’s actions (and his own possible contribution to them), he asks Maris a single question: should he jump?

With a man’s life in her hands, Maris must decide, perhaps for the first time, what she truly wants. Retribution? Forgiveness? Or something more? Having lost everything, she’s finally free to recreate herself without the confining labels of “wife,” “mother,” or “mourner.” But will this shocking offer free her, or destroy her?


Calla Vacanti is murdered by her boyfriend, Karl. Karl was found guilty and sentenced to at least 5 years in prison for Manslaughter. This story is about the lives of their parents after this tragic ending for both families. It is not about the murder….It is about how parents deal with the aftermath of such an event. Whether you are a parent to the victim, or the parent of the killer, both families will suffer. The love of both mothers for their children is Fierce!

Could it be Ron’s fault that his son became the person he did? Was he too hard on him growing up? Did he take after his own father?

Ron is so ridden with guilt for his son’s crime, that he goes to the Golden Gate Bridge (because it was the only one you could walk on), and calls Maris…..offering to jump off of the bridge!!! This question leaves Maris reeling with confusion. She does not want Ron to jump…or does she? Would this make all of this loss and grief feel better?

Ron’s phone call sends Maris running in search of something tangible, maybe another way of life. Her husband, Jeff has left her. She is alone, except for her sister, Alana. Yet, she really just wants everyone to disappear from her life, so that she can start fresh. Can you start fresh after something like losing your daughter? Haven’t all of her close friends left her life a little bit at a time anyway?

She needed to learn how to live again. Some semblance of a life being well lived would be her quest! She starts by packing up to head to stay with her sister, Alana; but, she never makes it to her house. Instead she rents an apartment in Oakland for two weeks. Not telling anyone where she is. She introduces herself as Mary to the new people she meets along the way. She is either going to drown or prevail. It is a fine line!

This story really nails how it feels when you lose someone to murder. (Sadly, I know how it feels) Your life literally spirals out of control, and taking starting again is one of the most difficult things you will ever have to do. I was so impressed with Sophie Littlefield’s tender care in writing this story. It was very endearing how this story played out, and the ending was awesome!!!

I’d like to note that while I did feel that it dragged in some places where Maris was concerned; Littlefield made up for it when Ron was telling his part of the story.

4 Stars.

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