They Believed They Were Safe
Autumn 1962 in a picture-perfect small New England college town. Mabel Gorne arrives with a single suitcase and an unsettling secret. Unlike the pampered daughters of the affluent who compose the student body, the penniless, Midwestern Mabel is an anomaly who must make her own way while outrunning a past she fervently hopes to bury.
But she's not the only person in North Chesterfield harboring secrets. As she starts graduate classes and a liaison with a local cop, she boards with a seemingly sedate couple. Little can she imagine, all possess unexpressed desires.
Will Mabel reckon with her history in time to find the loving and compassionate future she yearns for, or will the emotions her presence unwittingly sparks engulf her and those she assumed she could trust?
They Believed They Were Safe shines a light on the dark places of the human heart where sexual obsession, revenge and murder lurk.
- Paperback | 208 pages
- 140 x 216 x 13mm | 222g
- 01 Nov 2022
- Vine Leaves Press
"Cordelia Biddle has such a gift for storytelling--I was hooked by They Believed They Were Safe from the first page. This is an engaging, propulsive novel that examines a unique time in American history and will appeal to all kinds of readers." Liz Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Long, Bright River
"They Believed They Were Safe is the unforgettable, can't-put-it-down tale of people who see what they want to see, think what they want to think, and do what they want to do, until, ultimately, their individual paths collide with disastrous results. Mabel Gorne, at the center of it all, is trapped among those who relate to her not as she is, but as they need or want her to be. Caught up in their own mounting resentments and desires, the characters each follow a narrow path between tragedy and farcical comedy. Cordelia Biddle's sharp, dark wit grabs hold and doesn't let go until each of her creations meets its own inevitable - and superbly satisfying - fate. Do not miss this unique and utterly captivating read!" Merry Jones, award-winning author of Child's Play and Summer Session
"Crystalline storytelling. Biddle, at her best here in They Believed They Were Safe, lays a solid narrative foundation then builds us a tale that proves dreamlike. There's enough of the familiar to make it real-small town, midcentury, New England. But the ending, both surprising and inevitable, leaves us astonished in a Gothic wonderland. I thoroughly enjoyed this new novel." William di Canzio, author of Alec (Editors' Choice, New York Times Book Review)