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Family Law


Family Law

Gin Phillips’ latest book comes on the heels of FIERCE KINGDOM, which is her biggest success to date. She is flexing her writing muscles once again as FAMILY LAW is a completely different type of novel but still possesses her trademark of complex female relationships in dangerous circumstances.

It is 1979, and we are about to enter a new decade when the story begins. The narrative is shared from the points of view of Lucia, a young Alabama lawyer, and Rachel, the curious and outspoken teenager she befriends. As the novel opens, we get to see Lucia in the courtroom doing what she does best at a time when women were usually not found making a name for themselves.

"Readers become keenly aware of how important it was for women to bond with one another and stay connected at a time when they were fighting for equal rights."

Rachel, who knows Lucia from the work she did on her parents’ divorce case, turns up at Lucia’s door one day. Initially, the childless but married Lucia feels strange about spending time with her, but it is clear that Rachel does not have many friends and wants some companionship. Rachel loves hearing great blues records in Lucia’s home as her mother typically only listens to rock ‘n’ roll on the radio. She also borrows books from Lucia, such as THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ANIMAL FARM, and knows she can chat with her about them.

The relationship takes an interesting turn when, during a brief vacation taken by Lucia and her husband, Rachel swears she sees their dog, Moxie, in the yard of a stranger in the same neighborhood. It turns out that the neighbor, a very odd man named Marlon Reynolds, had indeed taken in Moxie, claiming that the dog had come to him and appeared to be sick. The interaction quickly escalates into a more heated discussion and ends with obscenities and threats.

Then one day, while Rachel is visiting Lucia and her husband, the windows are blown in by gunfire. Thankfully, no one is badly hurt; they are just shaken up. However, this prompts Rachel’s mother to not allow her to see Lucia ever again. At the same time, Lucia wants answers from law enforcement about the attack on her home. Was Reynolds following up on his threats, or is a random person from her professional life attacking her?

The last part of FAMILY LAW shows Rachel getting older, but she is still impacted by the violent and sudden changes in her life, not the least of which is her harsh separation from Lucia. It is also interesting to see the effect that their broken relationship has on Lucia. Readers become keenly aware of how important it was for women to bond with one another and stay connected at a time when they were fighting for equal rights.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on May 14, 2021

Family Law
by Gin Phillips

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • ISBN-10: 1984880640
  • ISBN-13: 9781984880642