Anthony Winter and Amelia Wilkes are in love. Theirs is a forbidden love, from her parents’ viewpoint. So they meet and begin a sexual relationship, keeping the secret from her parents. He is eighteen and she is seventeen, so in North Carolina, they are not breaking any laws by having a sexual relationship.
Anthony’s mother Kim, a teacher at the private school the teens attend, is aware that they are seeing each other, but says nothing.
But one day, they take their love a step further when Anthony sends nude photos of himself to Amelia, at her request.
They think nothing further of it until the day Amelia forgets her computer at home, and her father, curious to see what she’s up to, hacks his way in. And discovers the photos.
What he does next unleashes a nightmare scenario from which they will never emerge unscathed. For the DA in Raleigh has a political agenda and is determined to glean as much mileage from this case as he can.
The legal ramifications become more and more complicated as the case grows monster legs, with the media, at Harlan Wilkes’ bidding, turning the situation into a circus, with Amelia painted the victim of Anthony, who is portrayed as the perpetrator.
As the story unfolds, we see the events from the perspective of each of the characters, coming to understand how and why each of them is reacting the way they do. Yet the justice system seems hell-bent on turning the teens into sacrificial lambs for the benefit of those who are pulling the strings.
What will Anthony and Amelia finally decide to do when their fate seems sealed? Will their love survive the horrific events? And what will someone do to turn things around?
Therese Fowler’s Exposure: A Novel is a suspenseful tale that spotlights the dangers of modern technology, while reminding us that the legal system has far to go when interpreting the laws that are on the books.
I could not put this one down. My sympathies were with the teens, even though they made some foolish choices. But the repercussions spread out much further, washing over the entire cast of characters in one way or another. Five stars.