A Trial in Summer: A Novel

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9781564745064: A Trial in Summer: A Novel
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Lorie Bronson, an idealistic college freshman, arrives in San Francisco in the summer of 1939 with her father, who is the judge in the deportation trial of a longshoreman and labor leader. Lorie misses her mother, who died a year ago, and resents her father's new wife, Maria. Lorie is destined for law school, but she is more passionately drawn to photography, inspired by the socially relevant photographs of Dorothea Lange. She disobeys her father by spending time down on the docks, photographing longshoreman at work-and in protests and strikes. She is befriended by Dave Rafferty, an appealing longshoreman who turns out to be a company spy. Dave steals her photos, and her camera, and publishes the photos in the union paper, thus endangering the trial and her father's career. By the end of the summer, Lorie has learned a great deal about photography, social justice, men, and herself.

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About the Author:

Ann L. McLaughlin is the author of five highly acclaimed novels, Lightning in July, The Balancing Pole, Sunset at Rosalie, Maiden Voyage, and The House on Q Street. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and teaches at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD.

From Publishers Weekly:

Pre-WWII San Francisco is brought to life in McLaughlin's aesthetically pleasing if sharply underplotted latest (after Leaving Bayberry House). When Lorie Bronson, a progressively minded college freshman, moves with her father, stepmother, and stepbrother to San Francisco in 1939, and they settle in tony Nob Hill, Lorie is drawn to the Embarcadero, a hotbed of labor strife. Her father, a judge presiding over the case of a labor leader, warns her to stay away, but Lorie goes there to take photographs and understand the labor struggles, only to discover that there are more than two sides to the issue and that not everyone can be trusted. Then there's the problem of her involvement perhaps infringing on her father's ability to do his job. McLaughlin's primary concern, it appears, is the setting, and she does a great job with it, but the slack narrative does little to help out a bland heroine too meek to lead a novel that forgoes plot in favor of atmosphere. (Apr.)
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