|"If you are a fan of emotionally charged page-turners, Edith Marks' new novel, Ground Cover, is not to be missed. Following great success in the non-fiction realm, Marks' debut in fiction will leave readers clamoring for more.
Filled with compelling action, gripping emotional depth and suspenseful plot twists, Ground Cover follows the lives of the Harts, a passionate and rapidly disintegrating family plagued by tragedy. Cleo Hart, the family's matriarch, is an aspiring Boston artist and mother of three married to Adam, a dedicated environmentalist. The Hart children, Gina, El and Orin, are a headstrong brood whose convictions and, in the case of Gina, an inability to escape addiction, contribute to the family's destruction, often while trying to prevent it.
From the start, readers are thrust deep into the strained relationship between Cleo and Adam who, after being hit with the shocking news that Gina is addicted to Heroin, begin a power struggle for control over finding a cure. Cleo is desperate to follow a path of conventional treatment but Adam is convinced that the Amazon holds the answer.
Adam prevails and whisks their daughter off to the rain forest, confident that she will return relieved of her addiction. He's wrong and when he flies back to Boston to deliver the news that Gina is dead, the family's implosion begins its brutal course.
Devastated by the loss of her daughter, Cleo turns her back on Adam who she blames for her death. In a desperate attempt to find relief from her depression, she turns to her art for solace. When her premier art show sells out, she is overjoyed but when the buyer is revealed, her life takes yet another tragic, ultimately murderous, turn.
After Gina's death, Adam, guilt-ridden and stinging from Cleo's accusations of neglect, returns to the Amazon where he dies in a mysterious helicopter crash. Although ruled an accident by authorities, El, is convinced that her father's death was a homicide and begins a relentless quest to identify the killer. When she does, she enlists Orin to exact revenge on him, an act that unwittingly leaves Cleo in its wake.
With every page, Ground Cover's plot becomes increasingly complex and captivating. In a riveting final scene, death once again impacts Cleo, El and Orin but this time instead of compounding their grief, it opens the door to happiness. After a long trail of suffering, the remaining Harts - and the reader - finding much needed peace.
In Ground Cover, Marks has done a masterful job of developing emotionally rich, true-to-life characters and a compelling plot that never wavers. Throughout the story, you find yourself not a mere observer of the Hart's lives but a participant in them. Her ability to describe feelings of guilt, loss, betrayal, confusion and love with stunning accuracy and clarity combined with an expert ability to keep readers on the edge of their seats has resulted in not just a book, but an experience. By the time you are finished with Ground Cover, you will know what it is like to have loved and lost, to have given up your life for your convictions, to find peace in the midst of tragedy and to have survived experiences you hope only to read about. Ground Cover is a must read.
Edith S. Marks is also the author of Coping With Glaucoma (Penguin-Putnam), Job Hunting for the Disabled (Barron's Educational Series), From College to Career and From Kitchen to Career (both Bobbs-Merrill). She was a supervisor of special education trainers, NYC Board of Education.
Scott Buhrmaster, Resident Scholar