AT Avery Academy, a prestigious New England boarding school, the headmaster finds himself in possession of a videotape – a disaster in a small package. More shocking than the sexual acts recorded on the tape are the ages of the students. One girl is just fourteen.

A Pandora’s box, the tape unleashes a storm of shame and recrimination throughout the small community. The men, women, and teenagers involved speak out to relate the events of that night and their aftermath. Mike Bordwin, the headmaster, struggles to contain the scandal before it destroys the school. Silas Quinney, a well-liked local boy, grapples with the tremendous consequences of his mistakes. Anna, his mother, confronts her own forbidden temptations. And Sienna, an enigmatic and troubled young woman, tries to put her past behind her.

For all the tape reveals, it provokes more questions than it answers. How did this happen? Who is to blame? And will the mistakes of one foolish moment ruin the futures of everyone involved? As the chorus of voices rises to a crescendo, it reveals the surprising truth of what occurred that night, and how the lives touched by these events will be forever transformed.

Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her greatest work, Anita Shreve brings us a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, or the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.
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