Count on losing a little sleep when you pick up Frieda Dryden's novel, Leonard's Wife, because you won't be able to put it down. Beginning with grief and guilt and progressing to violence and madness, Dryden covers the gamut of human frailties. In the tradition of William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Dryden brings suspense worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock movie to her harrowing tale. Abused in every possible way, Lottie Skeets begins her life without a chance, yet she clings to her humanity against all odds. Unable to trust anyone or anything, she runs in terror from any offer of help that might make her life and her son's more normal. It's obvious from her own limited experience that any help would involve separating her from the only person to whom she can give the only love she knows how to give--and it truly is limitless. A child who had no parenting, she does her best, in the only way she can imagine, to be a better mother than the one she had. Although we see, throughout, that she craves the normalcy and beauty that's denied her, in the end, we're forced to decide if she's become a monster and, if so, what could have prevented that transformation. If one is treated monstrously, is it inevitable that he becomes monstrous?