Synopses & Reviews
Home-care nurse Emily Klein can’t get out of her new assignment – weekly prenatal visits to Pippa Glenning, a young Isis cult member under house arrest for the death of her daughter during a Solstice ceremony. But she takes her work seriously and plays by the rules, so Emily is determined to take good care of her high-profile and unconventional patient.
With two other cult members in prison, Pippa Glenning struggles to keep the household intact. If she follows the rules of her house arrest, she may be allowed to keep her baby; but as the pregnant woman in the family it’s her duty to dance for Isis at the upcoming winter Solstice ceremony. To escape the house arrest without being caught, Pippa needs Emily’s help.
Despite their differences, Emily and Pippa’s friendship grows. Returning to Maine for her grandfather’s funeral, Emily begins to grapple with her parents’ activism a generation earlier and her father’s death in prison. Back home, as the Solstice and the trial approach, anti-cult and racist sentiment in the city escalates. Emily and Pippa must each make decisions about their conflicting responsibilities to their families and to each other – decisions that put their lives, and Pippa’s unborn baby – in jeopardy.
"What drives Ellen Meeropol's compelling debut is an essential moral question about what a family sacrifices when a parent lives according to higher political ideals. What keeps you reading are Meeropol's astutely observed diverse cast of characters who draw you into their dilemmas, their world, and most importantly their heartaches." Heidi W. Durrow, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
"In this suspenseful, richly plotted novel, Ellen Meeropol explores the moral complexities of politics and medicine as they intersect with the private sphere of family. She is acutely sensitive to the nuances of long-suppressed sorrow and regret; with equal insight, she successfully immerses the reader in a wide range of characters. House Arrest is smart, provocative, and moving." Julia Glass, Three Junes and The Widower's Tale
About the Author
A literary late bloomer, Ellen Meeropol began writing fiction in her fifties when she was working as a nurse practitioner in a pediatric hospital. Since leaving her nursing practice in 2005, Ellen has worked as the publicist and book group coordinator for an independent bookstore and taught fiction workshops. She is a founding member of the Rosenberg Fund for Children and author of the script for their dramatic program “Celebrate,” which has been produced in four cities, most recently in 2007 starring Eve Ensler, David Strathairn and Angela Davis. Drawing material from her twin passions of medical ethics and political activism, her fiction explores characters at the intersection of political turmoil and family life.
Ellen holds an MFA in creative writing from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. Her stories have appeared in Bridges, Portland Magazine, Pedestal, Patchwork Journal, and The Women’s Times. House Arrest is her first novel. She lives in Western Massachusetts.
Ellen Meeropol on PowellsBooks.Blog
If I had a therapist, she would probably suggest that my novels all reach back into family history, trying to understand the costs of political activism. Not a surprising concept when you consider that my husband was orphaned as a child because of his parents’ politics...