“Ripple moves at an intense pace, packing a lot of drama and action into a well-written, first novel that pulls the reader into the shattered lives of fifteen-year old Phoebe and her career-minded, attorney-mom Helen Thompson. E. L. Farris credits her audience with intelligence as she explores a plethora of emotion, from gut-wrenching betrayal to the most tender love in a mother’s heart. Even as she does this, Farris does not shy away from employing legal terminology that other authors shun. All the while, she weaves a dark tale of an obsessed psychopath planning his strike. The shining jewel, though, is that most of the heroes are really heroines, and they are amazing women who have overcome their own betrayals and pain. Definitely a read that I did not want to put down.”–Ka
“It is rare to find a new author who comes out of the gate with an absolute winner, but Farris is a rare author. The subject matter, while dark, was engaging and hopeful. I became committed to each character as if I got to know each one personally, quirks and all. I felt as if I had been transported into Helen, Cass and Phoebe’s world so fully, I could feel the red clay beneath my feet, smell the horse manure and know their pain and fear. I was hooked from the beginning and could not put it down.”–Dawn
“As an avid reader (I read 8 to 10 novels per month) and a writer, I have deftly trained myself to see many facets within a single work of literature, where many people may only see one or two. This, for me, is the beauty of a good story, well written, and we have this in E.L. Farris’ “Ripple.”
This is more than a story of a young girl who is raped and molested by her own father, a high powered and well respected judge who is secretly involved in an equally high powered pedophile sex ring. It’s more than a look into how the girl and her mother cope in the aftermath. It’s also a look into how the system works, a system, as the author points out through the voice of one of the story’s characters, “is not a justice system, but a legal system,” and as any American over the voting age knows, the two are as far apart as day and night.
While Phoebe and her up until now very absentee mother, Helen, a high priced, high powered lawyer, escape to a safe house for their own protection, we see the case unfurl- not just the rape case, but the case for Helen’s freedom, as she takes drastic measures to protect her daughter from her husband (and I’ll not add any spoilers), and we see that the mother protecting her daughter is the one who the “system” wants to eye as the criminal.
“Farris draws from her former legal career and her former life within the legal profession to craft characters that fit perfectly into the story. They are real. They play their parts well. We see people who are more concerned with their careers; a district attorney who always stops to consider just how close the next election is before deciding what the `right thing to do’ is- managing partners at law firms whose employees are involved in the “scandal” as they call it- heaven forbid they call it a child being raped- who make decisions to terminate people from employment to distance themselves from any negative attention, all in order to protect their large, multi-million dollar books of business, and a detective on the case with ulterior motives for his own demented reasons. And folks- this is what makes this read so real. It shows one of the ugly sides of the American power class, where professions have become more important than people, and often, even when they are genuine victims, child victims at that, of situations that are completely out of their control.
“As a man, I like how Farris does not demonize every living sapian with a penis. This is often the unattractive case with books in this genre, and Farris’ writing leaves no doubt that the savage beasts in this tale are evil because they possess evil in their hearts, not because they possess Y chromosomes. Also, as one of the facets of the work highlights, there is quite a bit of evil in the way the situation is handled by the “system.” That is where I found most of my feelings of frustration coming from while reading this- the workings of the system and the mindset of the people within that system who have become slaves of that system. There were many times that I wanted to crawl into the story and jerk Helen’s eyes off of her checkbook and power skirt and direct them toward her daughter.
“The ending climaxes quickly and is packed with action, and the story does end with a hint toward a sequel. If a sequel does indeed follow this work, I’ll be one of the first to read it. I congratulate the author on her freshman attempt with the novel, and I will say that it was a job well done.”–Kevin E Lake, Author of Off Switch & From the Graves of Babes
“Most legal thrillers treat the reader as if they can’t handle the nitty-gritty of a life in law, but this book gives the reader credit for understanding and appreciating being pulled into the reality of law. And a nightmare. Although this female protagonist is a driven attorney with a busy schedule that is dizzying, nothing can stop her when her daughter is at stake. A mother’s love is fierce, and no less so because of a powerful career. She will turn her back on everything when her child needs her. Ripple lets the world know a woman can be successful in a competitive and demanding job without damaging her children. In fact, when she’s needed, every ounce of competing in that tough world is transformed when the bigger challenge of motherhood is called on.
“This is a tough subject to handle, and stories like this too often fall down the pit of pity and hammer readers over the head with how tough it is to be a woman, how unfair it is to be a woman, and how women are the prey of men. This book never goes down that trap, and I appreciated it. Evil walks this earth, and it does it’s dirty job in many different ways…but is always defeated by the human spirit and the strength of community.
“The writer’s voice, pacing, and style are those of a seasoned professional and never get in the way of this challenging story. She knows how to build tension and suspense as well as she knows the legal world and does not disappoint. She knows when to throw in a dash of humor to ease the tension, and she wakes us from a nightmare with the gentle shake of hope. She takes us through the struggle for recovery, showing that whatever the trauma, we can be active parts in the healing.
“Whether or not you can identify with the subject matter, this is a book worth reading. It’s satisfying on many different levels and for many reasons.”–Cyd Madsen
“I really like fiction books that make me think about the real world while entertaining me. That’s a tall order but RIPPLE managed to do it almost transparently. I haven’t really been personally exposed to any sexual violence in my life (thank God)other than news media and I guess I really didn’t have a clue. I LOVED how the author takes us inside that scary, hurtful place but never seems to wallow in it or use it for its cheap shock value. At one point when I was reading it my husband asked me what was wrong because I was crying and I had to tell him how lucky we were that things like this didn’t happen to us or our daughters. But instead of putting me off the story had me rooting for Helen and her daughter from the start. On comes more warm,lovable characters and the story just takes off. The bad guys were so evil that I was seriously creeped out and sometimes wished this was more like Little Women than Zodiac because I was enjoying the developing characters and their relationships. But no, the author had other ideas and obviously wanted me to better understand BIG issues like addiction, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, and rape. Never preachy, the tone is more fly on the wall without much explanation or philosophy beyond the how the story plays out. Ripple was one of those reads that grabs onto you and won’t let go. I couldn’t find any other books by E. L. Farris so I guess this is her first. Personally I hope she decides to follow this up with a prequel or sequel for Helen or Cassandra or both. Maybe even some more stories about Bryson House and all the heartwarming stories it must represent. I give it a big thumbs up!”–Christine.
“Although “Ripple” is a work of fiction, it deals with some very hard truths of life. I knew before I started reading it was a story that contained issues of rape, sexual abuse, and sexual predators. These are truths of life for too many women and children. As a rape survivor and a mother, I tiptoed toward this book. I wanted to read “Ripple”, but I knew that the issues would have to be handled with truth and honesty, as well as compassion and empathy, or I would not be able to finish. I have looked for a book for a very long time that met this criterion and have not found one that even came close. I know my standards are high, but I needed to find a book written by an author who actually cares about her readers and wants to make a difference. I knew these were going to be tough issues for me to face, and quite frankly, I needed to feel like the author was gently guiding me through the story for the purposes of healing. I found myself very quickly caught up in the story line because purely as a suspenseful work of fiction, “Ripple” is very well written. As I finished reading, I realized that the literary world has needed a book like this for a very long time. If you are a survivor looking for healing, this is a story that really understands the emotions behind a sexual assault and will carry you through the process of healing in a way that fills you with hope. If you are the mother of a child who has been hurt, as you follow Helen’s story, you begin to understand that letting go of the guilt is the only path to healing. If you love someone who has been assaulted, this story will help you begin to know what the survivor feels and give you the tools to understand and help that person on their journey. And if you have ever wondered why funding matters to survivors of abuse, “Ripple” will show you the truth that for any healing to begin, support systems must be available. Although a work of fiction, this is real life, this is how real victims feel, and this is the only way for them to survive. “Ripple” matters.”–Paula P.
“I hesitated at first to read this book, because I do struggle with reading fiction about sexual abuse. It’s such a fine line between sensationalizing abuse in a way that appeals to our worst instincts as readers, or flinching away from the brutal realities. “Ripple” accomplishes this tightrope-walking feat with grace.
“I’m trying to figure out a way to say this that stays general enough that it won’t spoil the storyline for anyone who hasn’t read “Ripple” yet, but I’ll do my best. There are moments in life, and there is a moment in this book which reflects this, when a person can feel so totally convinced that she is a failure that she stands (or falls) at a crossroads. One path is to punish herself for the rest of her life for that “failure” – and that path can feel temptingly right. It can feel like a lifetime of self-punishment could be the only justice, and it can feel like walking toward that lifetime of self-punishment is the only way to begin to atone for that failure. The other path is to give mercy to oneself, if not for one’s own sake then for the sake of loved ones, and not taking yourself away from them. Too many people have chosen the path of self-punishment and turned their backs on the path of love. “Ripple” beautifully illustrates the point that ultimately our human fate isn’t about justice. It’s about having the courage to choose to love and to face the battles that come with it, or turning your back and walking away because you feel you don’t deserve it.
“While the main character seemed less than sympathetic at first, and I was tempted again to stop reading early in the book because I disliked her, I soon realized that the dislike I felt was not so much for the character as it was for an aspect of myself represented by the character.
“Thank you, E.L. Farris, for such a thought-provoking and honest look at a difficult subject. I learned something about myself from reading this. Other readers will too.”–Ellen Ross
“Ripple was a great read. The characters are realistic and the pacing of the action pulls you into the story from the start. As an attorney who has been practicing for more than sixteen years, I like how the author gives voice to the tension lawyers face between their private and professional lives. Most of all, I loved how Ripple is truly a story of hope. This book celebrates those who reject being victims and choose to heal. Horrible things happen to the people in the story. Yet, despite their flaws and challenges, the characters find ways to flourish.”–Travis
“Are you looking for a book that will take you on a journey that will make you feel a full range of emotion while feeding your hunger to learn what is going to happen next? Well, “Ripple” is just that book. Ms. Farris introduces you to each character in much the same way you would meet in real life. These are not politely scheduled meetings, but rather, head-long, life by the seat of the pants encounters. Each character will reel you in, making you feel as though you are partner to their lives. This is not a “feel good, mushy” tale, but one that brings out a “raw, sometimes shockingly real” side of the human condition. At times you won’t believe that certain actions actually take place, sending you down a totally unforeseen path.
“This book held my attention from beginning to end. I wanted to find out what happened; however, I really did not want the book to end. The author writes in a beautiful style. The book incorporates so many current topics. It covers some dark themes in a highly sensitive and healing way. I loved the characters although I hated the bad guys. I personally think this book will do very well. I hope there will be a book two as I know Phoebe will continue to triumph.”–Karen Hackel
“Make sure to clear your schedule before you start reading this book – you won’t want to put it down. Should you decide to use your lunch hour as reading time, be certain to set an alarm to remind you to go back to work. Definitely with your time.”–Cheryl
“Very well written book! I was captured in the story as soon as I started the first page & couldn’t put it down. This is a must read!”–Lynn
“I had a hard time putting Ripple down. It’s hard to “want” to call this a great book because the premise was disturbing, and yet I was pulled in by the first chapter and found it hard to put down until it ended. And after, the characters have lingered in my mind, as if I know them personally. The back and forth internal dialogue was fantastically done and hauntingly realistic. Anyone who has had contact with abuse, addiction, struggle of balance between work and family will see a bit of themselves in all the characters. This truly is a story of hope and redemption, a must read for 2013.”–Carrie
“I started reading this book with some trepidation. As a mother, it is hard to imagine such a traumatic thing happening to your child. However, this author does an amazing job of guiding the reader through the hard subject matter in such a way that you feel the hope, love, and strength of the characters! I did not expect the thriller aspect of the story, and it really adds just the perfect amount of tension to the story.
“I came to love all the characters and their inter-relationships. Between mother and daughters, attorneys and clients, attorneys and co-workers, and women forging lasting friendships with each other. The dialogue between attorneys never felt “above my head” or dry, long and drawn out; something I was wrongly afraid of when starting to read this book.
“What I liked most is that I came away from this book with hope for the characters, and joy in their ability to move forward with their lives. An excellent read, and I’m so glad I did!!”–Christine
“Ms. Farris hit a home run her first time at bat with Ripple! From the ball-busting attorney Helen Thompson to the slimy detective, she portrayed each character so well they jumped right off the page. I had a very hard time putting this book down. Ms. Farris’s knowledge of the legal system is well-suited to writing a legal thriller. The topic was a very sensitive one and was handled carefully but came across as very realistic. She left herself open to a sequel here and I can hardly wait for it!”–Heather
“Tough subject matter handled with sensitivity and grace. Each character is realistically drawn with fine lines painted to their emotional landscape. A good blend of suspense, legal drama and human study of survival against terrible abuse and loss. This is a book I could not stop reading, I fell in love with not just the main characters but many of the supporting characters. I rooted not just they survive their terrible abuse, I rooted they learn to live again as whole and loving people.
“This is a story perfectly told with characters we might know in our lives.”–Val