Paula Sharp Crows Over a Wheatfield

ISBN 13: 9780786861170

Crows Over a Wheatfield

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9780786861170: Crows Over a Wheatfield
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Judge Melanie Klonecki, herself the daughter of an abusive father, becomes involved--personally and professionally--with Mildred Steck, a woman who kidnaps her child to protect him from his father and who unwittingly launches a crusade for women trapped in abusive relationships.

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When Joel Ratleer, a criminal defense lawyer, wins a controversial child murder case against a nanny (who pleads guilty) by maligning the character of the children's father, even the defendant protests. Ratleer's children, Melanie and Matthew, whom he dominates with cruelty, react in different ways. Forced to help his father with the case, Matthew, 15, consumes an enormous quantity of LSD and has to be institutionalized. Melanie becomes obsessed with work and ultimately becomes a judge in New York, dealing firsthand with cases like her father's. In two such cases, she encounters Mildred Steck, founder of the Railroad, a network of safe havens for parents and children caught in the Family Court system. Through this new-found friendship, Melanie acknowledges her past and finally begins to heal.

From the Back Cover:

Spanning a course of thirty years, Crows over a Wheatfield is the story of Melanie Ratleer, a judge who is approaching the summit of her career with an anguished awareness that she has long since abandoned herself to the comforting impersonality of her work. Melanie has come to the law under the massive shadow of her father, a brilliant and notorious litigator as despotic at home as he is in the courtroom. His young wife, daughter, and especially his son have suffered under his unpredictable and merciless rages, which culminate in a tragedy that tears the family apart and sends its members away in flight to their own safe havens. Years afterward Melanie pays a visit to the small Wisconsin town where her stepmother and brother have settled and grown close to a colorfully unorthodox minister and his daughter, the flamboyant and provocative Mildred Steck. The young women quickly become friends, but as the summer passes, Melanie gradually learns that Mildred's family life is beset by its own brutality, which only another tragedy can bring to an end. After a decade in hiding Mildred becomes the focus of national attention when she organizes an underground movement on behalf of women and children fleeing unjust custody rulings and domestic violence. When the movement finally decides to take a public position on a notorious custody case, the drama that ensues forces Melanie to confront a test of her principles, as well as the many long-avoided ghosts of her past.

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