Accused of murdering her family’s benefactor, a teenage girl caught in the legal system explains what led to her arrest and indictment.
Author Shannon Cowan has done a remarkable job researching the Canadian legal system viz. young adults around the time that Tin Angel takes place (late 1960s). However, the emotional component of the story never quite came together for me.
Ronnie Page and her family lived an idyllic life off the grid, until her father’s death means that they must sell their home to a wealthy family friend, Louie Moss. Ronnie can’t seem to adjust to “normal” life, and while her sister begins spending more time with Louie (causing much gossip), her mother slides into depression and alcoholism. Her life sucks, thanks to Louie Moss. And when Louie is found murdered, the evidence points to Ronnie, but she’s got reasons for being in the wrong place at the wrong time that she can’t tell anyone.
It’s really hard reading about Ronnie’s life, which Cowan infuses with near-Dickensian touches of poverty and want, and not feel like the author is manipulating her to some degree. The pain just piles on, without reprieve, so that by the end it doesn’t seem possible that Ronnie will ever have a happy life, no matter the outcome of the trial. The somewhat clunky dialogue didn’t help matters, either.