Elizabeth Silver
June 2013
Crown Publishers

Noa P. Singleton sits on death row, months away from her execution day. From her cell, she begins to tell her story, noting that “In this world, you are either good or evil.” Noa considers the gray area in between to be a mere gestational period. That the world has already marked you, one way or the other.
And Noa is very aware of the mark on her. How did she go from being the salutatorian of her high school and with a full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, to a woman who easily proclaims herself guilty? Does she lay the blame on her upbringing by a flighty former beauty queen who paraded men through Noa’s childhood? Is it in her blood passed down from a career criminal father? Nature or nurture, is she destined to kill?
Silver,_ElizabethShe is accused of killing Sarah, her father’s girlfriend. A woman her own age. And the daughter of Marlene Dixon, a Philadelphia lawyer who testified that she felt that no one but the most heinous of crimes deserved committed by the most horrible of people should be punished by the death penalty. And that “no person more suitably fit into the suit of a deserving body of the precious designer as Noa P. Singleton.” But it is Marlene Dixon who offers legal help in a last change a commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment. She’s assigned an eager law student fresh from Oxford to help Noa. Dixon only wants one thing: to know why Noa did. Why did Noa kill Sarah Dixon more than ten years ago?
Noa has remained mute about this, even at her own trial. It isn’t a simple answer. And it is an answer that Marlene Dixon is herself complicit in.
This is a beautiful and consuming tale revolving around two women who are both torn, both guilty and both looking for some kind of redemption. Elizabeth Silver has set the bar very high for herself with this outstanding debut novel.
Jennifer Jordan