A powerful story, Ian McEwan's Atonement begins in prewar England of 1935 with all its class distinctions and discriminations. Thirteen-year-old Briony has failed to grasp the nature of the relationship between her older sister, Cecelia, and the son of their servant, Robbie. Her overactive imagination leads her to falsely accuse Robbie of raping her cousin, Lola. This sets in motion the separation of young lovers, the imprisonment of an innocent man, and years of guilt and attempted atonement for the destruction of young lives. Spanning sixty years, it follows Briony's search for forgiveness and redemption. This book is a tour de force of writing. I love the way McEwan weaves the threads of the story together. It is beautifully written, and one of my all-time favorite books.
Recommended by Mary Ellen Raun