An Accidental Life    -     By: Pamela Binnings Ewen
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An Accidental Life

B&H Books / 2013 / Paperback

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Product Description

In 1982, New Orleans district attorney Peter Jacobs faces a trial of a lifetime. And consequently, his wife---a glamorous partner at a major law firm---suddenly finds her life spinning out of control. In Ewen's based-on-fact novel, Peter and Rebecca are caught up in a faith-testing courtroom battle involving the rights of infants born alive during abortions. 352 pages, softcover from B&H.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: B&H Books
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 8.40 X 5.50 X 0.91 (inches)
ISBN: 0805464328
ISBN-13: 9780805464320
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

In a 1982 New Orleans courtroom the best kept secret in the world is about to unravel, and a young couple's jet set lives are about to change. Senior district attorney Peter Jacobs is facing the trial of a lifetime, a passionate, spiritual battle against an evil with far reaching consequences. His beloved wife Rebecca, a glamorous and driven partner at a major law firm, suddenly finds her life spun out of control and her new faith tested while facing a once in a lifetime choice.

New from lawyer-turned-novelist Pamela binnings Ewen, An Accidental Life is fiction based on fact: the testimony of registered nurse Jill Stanek before a U.S. Congressional Committee confirming that it was routine for doctors in Chicago's Christ Hospital to have nurses take infants born alive during abortions down to a "soiled utility room" and leave them to die.

Stanek's testimony led Congress to enact the Born Alive Infant Protection Act of 2001, a federal-only law that still does not bind state run hospitals or private clinics. The fact remains that what happens to abortion survivors is one of the best kept secrets in the world.

Author Bio

Pamela Binnings Ewen practiced law for twenty-five years before following in the authorial footsteps of relatives James Lee Burke (The Glass Rainbow) and Andre Dubus III (The House of Sand and Fog) with novels like The Moon in the Mango Tree, winner of the Eudora Welty Memorial Award in the 2012 Biennial Letters competition. Her third work of fiction, Dancing on Glass, won the 2012 Single Titles Reviewers Choice Award and was a Christy Award finalist.

Editorial Reviews

An Accidental Life is a spellbinding story, a must-read for every pro-lifer. The book pulls back the curtain on the abortion industry’s dirty secret—babies who survive their abortion are abandoned and left to die. The intertwining of a great story with courtroom drama based on Roe v Wade and subsequent law makes the book both fascinating and educational. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. 
Carol Tobias
President, National Right to Life
As a lawyer with decades of experience advocating against the exploits of the abortion industry, I can vouch for the fact that Kermit Gosnell isn’t an aberration. This fast-paced legal drama tells it like it is.
Dorinda Bordlee
Chief Counsel, Bioethics Defense Fund
As an Accidental life myself, I read An Accidental Life with high expectations of how the circumstances of survivors would be addressed in this book. My expectations were not only met, but exceeded. An Accidental Life is riveting, real and highly informative. Everyone needs to read this book. I guarantee that they will be both entertained and forever impacted.
Melissa Ohden
The Abortion Survivors Network
An Accidental Life by Pamela Binnings Ewen is a fine novel promoting the pro-life cause as it relates to the unborn. [The book] deals with what might seem to be unusual circumstances, but today we are learning that these situations are more common than we think, namely, the destruction of human life even after a live birth during an abortion procedure. The novel is a continued encouragement to defend all life from conception to natural death. 
Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond
Archdiocese of New Orleans
The story told here, a baby born alive after an abortion, but left to die is the story of a single soul. This is not an isolated incident, such scenarios occur daily in our country. The truth of this tragedy needs to reach the masses before it can end. Ewen brings a gut-wrenching story to the light with sensitivity, facts, faith, and heartfelt emotion.
Paulette Renaudin
Central Service Team Member: Magnificat Ministry to Catholic Women
An Accidental Life is well-written and engaging. I certainly recommend the book and hope that it will be widely diffused. 
Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio
Archdiocese for the Military Service, U.S.A.

Product Reviews

4.3 Stars Out Of 5
4.3 out of 5
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
4.7 out Of 5
(4.7 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.3 out Of 5
(4.3 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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  1. Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    a novel of an abortion gone bad
    September 17, 2013
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    It is 1982 New Orleans. Women can do just about anything they want, including breaking into all kinds of careers. And they don't have to worry about a baby getting in the way - it has been nine years since Roe v. Wade.

    Ewen has created a great juxtaposition of two pregnant women. Rebecca has just become one of the two first women partners in a prestigious law firm when she finds out she is pregnant. When she tells Peter, a senior prosecutor, he is overjoyed. But she wonders how she will continue her work in the law firm.

    Teenaged Glory Lynn has come into a women's clinic for an abortion. She had hopes of marrying the man but he has left her alone. She knows her life would be ruined with a baby. She's waited until her twenty second week, or maybe twenty third.

    The abortion goes bad when there is a life birth. When the mother hears the baby cry, her life is changed. She wants her baby - alive. But the doctor instructs the nurse to take the baby away, to a utility room to die. Glory Lynn goes to the authorities asking that charges be brought against the doctor. Peter is given the case to prosecute and he decides to go for second degree murder.

    The first half of the novel was slow. But the second half is a page turner. The novel centers around the live birth and the charge brought against the abortion doctor. A live birth was not something addressed by Roe v. Wade so we don't know how the trial will come out. I did feel that the law firm making so many allowances for Rebecca's pregnancy was unrealistic, considering other legal thrillers I've read.

    In the Author's Notes, Ewen says there are thousands of infants alive today who have survived abortions. She includes testimony of a registered nurse given to a House committee in 2001. Although a federal law was passed (covering federal hospitals) and several states have passed laws protecting infants of live birth, it remains an ongoing horror.

    This is a good novel, refreshing our minds again of the issues surrounding abortion.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
  2. New Zealand
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Historical Legal Thriller, not for the faint-heart
    September 5, 2013
    New Zealand
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Rebecca Downer Jacobs is about to be one of the first women admitted into partnership of her prominent New Orleans law firm. She's happily married with an exciting career, when something happens that's going to change everything. Meanwhile, Peter, her husband and senior district attorney, is in charge of a complex case with far-reaching legal consequences and moral implications for his Christian faith.

    An Accidental Life is billed as the story of a legal case regarding the right to life of a baby accidentally born alive after a late-term abortion (the author calls this America's best-kept secret). It's set in 1982, just nine years after the landmark case of Roe vs. Wade legalised abortion, and the tension surrounding the case and the time setting are strengths of the novel.

    The weakness is that it takes too long to get going. The prologue and first chapter are, I'm sorry to say, boring. They are little more than five years of backstory, explaining what has happened to Amalise and Rebecca since the conclusion of Chasing the Wind (which was a rare five-star read for me). This backstory is unnecessary, as An Accidental Life works well as a stand-alone story.

    The novel might have been stronger if it focused more on the case and less on the challenges Rebecca and Amalise faced as female lawyers in the early 1980's. It isn't that I'm unsympathetic to their challenges—I'm fascinated by them, as it's women like this in real life that paved the way for women like me to combine work and family. I suspect An Accidental Life was trying to do too much. And it's possible this is more the fault of the publisher than the author—B&H announced earlier this year that they are withdrawing from the fiction market . It could well be that the author didn't get the editorial support the novel required.

    Despite these problems, An Accidental Life is a solid read. The characters are faced with difficult yet realistic choices, the plot is certainly original, and the Christian element, while present, wasn't overbearing. And although the last third of the novel—the legal case— was outstanding, the excellent premise didn't quite deliver as a whole novel.

    Thanks to B&H Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
  3. Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Unspeakable Actions!
    September 3, 2013
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Rebecca and Peter Jacobs have persevered in climbing their respective corporate ladders to achieve their highest goals. Rebecca has attained the status of partner in a prestigious law firm, and Peter is a Senior Assistant District Attorney. Deeply in love and living a life of affluence the couple is suddenly faced with life-changing events, and Peter is facing the most challenging and heart wrenching case in his career. "An Accidental Life" reveals one of the country's most despicable secrets, late-term abortion by induction, producing live-born fetuses. This story is based on factual testimony in a case before a US Congressional Committee regarding live-born fetuses who are placed in soiled utility rooms to die.

    The author has broached the topic of abortion in a very sensitive and compassionate manner, with candor, truth and honesty. A cast of distinctive characters are presented in a credible style and their lives are interwoven throughout this unfolding drama. The investigation and courtroom scenes are authentic, compelling and pragmatic! I am impressed with the author's capacity to present factual events in a fictional manner creating an emotional roller coaster for the reader. This book is powerful and influential!

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Wynn-Wynn Media in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
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