For My Daughtersby Barbara Delinsky
Caroline, Annette and Leah St. Clair have spent their lives trying to escape the legacy of their wealthy, social-climbing mother, Virginia, a woman who had little time and even less feeling for her daughters. Though the sisters now consider themselves happy, each has lost a certain part of herself. Then, on the eve of her seventieth birthday, Virginia… See more details below
Caroline, Annette and Leah St. Clair have spent their lives trying to escape the legacy of their wealthy, social-climbing mother, Virginia, a woman who had little time and even less feeling for her daughters. Though the sisters now consider themselves happy, each has lost a certain part of herself. Then, on the eve of her seventieth birthday, Virginia asks her daughters to help her get settled into her magnificient new estate on the peaceful, rocky coast of Maine. Though their first reaction is to turn her down, each of the sisters ultimately decides to go...to give Virginia what she asks for, perhaps for the last. But it is Virginia who gives to her daughters. For amid the glorious beauty of a New England summer, the sisters find answers to question that have troubled them fo years, insights into the men in their lives, and new truths that will stay with them forever. For My Daughter is an eloquent and heartfelt protrait rich with passion, joy fulfillment, and, most of all, love, as four women discover not only one another, but themselves as well.
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For My Daughters
By Barbara Delinsky
Avon BooksCopyright © 2008 Barbara Delinsky
All right reserved.
The News Wasn't Good. Caroline St. Clair read the verdict on the jurors' faces well before it was passed to the judge. None of the twelve could look at her. Her client had been found guilty.
The rational part of her knew it was for the best. The man had kidnapped his ex-wife, held her hostage for three days, and repeatedly raped her. A respected state legislator with an otherwise spotless record, he would serve his term in the relative comfort of a federal prison, receive the psychiatric help he needed, and be paroled while he was still young enough to start again. In some regards an acquittal, which would have tossed him to the media and others bent on exploitation at a time when he was as bruised as his ex-wife, would have been more cruel.
But for Caroline each win was crucial. Wins generated renown, renown generated new cases, and new cases fattened the bottom line that was the obsession of the predominantly male partnership of Holten, Wills, and Duluth. Like so many of its kind, it had spent the better part of two decades in overextension, but while other firms folded, Holten, Wills, and Duluth clung to solvency. The cost was a fixation on cutting dead weight, limiting perks, and streamlining operations -- and apreoccupation with accounts receivable.
Caroline was one of the newer and, even at forty, younger partners. The future of the firm rested on her shoulders, lectured her older colleagues in the same breath that they grilled her on her billable hours. They didn't like sharing the wealth. Worse, they didn't like women. Caroline had to work twice as hard and be twice as good for the same recognition. She had to be more clever in the manipulation of legal theory, more aggressive negotiating with prosecutors, more effective with juries.
She had badly, badly needed this win.
"Tough break," said one of her fellow junior partners from the door of her office. "The press opportunities would have been good, what with your man's political connections. Now you get exposure for a loss."
Caroline shot him a look that might have been more stern had he been anyone else. But she and Doug had joined the firm at the same time, both lateral appointees, and though he had been named partner two years before her, she hadn't held it against him. She couldn't afford to. He was her strongest ally in the firm.
"Thanks," she drawled. "I needed that."
"Sorry. But it is true."
"And you think that that thought didn't keep me awake for more than a minute or two last night?" she asked, tapping the desktop with her forefinger, then her pinkie. "I knew the potential for this case when I took it. I thought we had a shot at winning."
"Proving insanity is tough."
"But aside from this one aberration John Baretta has lived an exemplary life," she argued, as she had more eloquently and in greater depth to the jury. "I thought that would count for something."
"Then you do believe he was temporarily insane?"
Caroline had had to believe it. That was the only way she could present an effective defense. With the trial behind her now, though, what would have been, "Definitely!" became, "Arguably." Her fingers kept up their alternating beat. "The man was crazy about his wife. He couldn't accept it when she left him. But he has no history of violence. He's ashamed and apologetic. He isn't a danger to society. He needs therapy. That's all."
"And you need a cigarette."
She stilled her hand. "You bet, but I won't have one. I'm not going through withdrawal again, and I'm not doing anything that'll make me sick. Just think of what the firm would do to me then." She sputtered out a breath. "My friends don't understand. They think that making partner guarantees something, like if I were to become pregnant tomorrow the firm would throw me a shower. They'd throw me out, is what they'd do. They'd find a way to get around the issue of discrimination and toss me out on my tail." She sighed, feeling suddenly tired. "It's so fragile, this thing we call a partnership, this thing we call a career. Is it worth it in the end?"
"Beats me. But what else can we do?"
"I don't know. But something's wrong, Doug. I'm feeling worse for myself for losing a case than I do for my client, and he's the one who'll be doing the time. My values have gotten messed up. All of ours have."
The words had barely left her mouth when a second face appeared at the door. This one belonged to one of the senior partners. "You allowed too many women on the jury," was his assessment. "They sided with the victim."
Doug slipped away just as Caroline said, "Gender isn't grounds for exclusion."
"You should have found a way to get them off," he answered and continued on down the hall.
She had barely begun to think up a response when another partner appeared. "You shouldn't have let him take the stand. He was looking piteous up to that point. Once he started talking, he sounded slick."
"I thought he sounded sincere."
"The jury didn't," came the chiding reply.
"We can all be brilliant tacticians after the fact," Caroline reasoned, "but the truth is that none of us knows why the jury reached the decision it did."
She was brooding about that moments later when yet another partner stopped by with as much encouragement as she would get. "Put this behind you, Caroline. You need a victory. Take a look at your caseload, pick a good one, and clobber the sucker."
Excerpted from For My Daughters by Barbara Delinsky Copyright © 2008 by Barbara Delinsky. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Barbara Delinsky, a lifelong New Englander, was a sociologist and photographer before she began to write. There are more than 30 million copies of her books in print.
- Newton, Massachusetts
- Date of Birth:
- August 9, 1945
- Place of Birth:
- Boston, Massachusetts
- B.A. in Psychology, Tufts University, 1967; M.A. in Sociology, Boston College, 1969
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I loved this story. A real love story in so many ways. Ms. Delinsky developed the characters so you felt like you knew them. I would love to see this book made into a movie. I enjoyed every moment of it. I hated to see it come to an end.
One of my favorite books from author. I can just read this story all day long. I can visulize the girls, plot, etc. Love the setting ---Maine . Love love love!
This is my first time reading one of Barbara Delinsky's books and I'm very impressed. I like everything about the story but wish that the author would give the daughters some time to spend with their mother to make up for the lost times.
I have read numerous books by Barbara Delinsky (she is my favorite author) with Commitments being my favorite, but I will say For My Daughters is now tied for that top spot! What a wonderful story. So very believable (actually more so than Commitments was) and definitely heartwarming. That Leah ends up being the main character in this story was a surprise, but it all weaves together to form a perfect tale of women coming into their own and coming together as a family.
I enjoyed Barbara Delinsky's 'For my daughters' book. I just think that the ending came about to quickly and the story could have been a little more balanced. This is my 3rd book I have read of Barbara Delinsky's and I have to say that I have enjoyed them all. It was a good book.