The Nine

A Novel

Fiction - Literary
328 Pages
Reviewed on 07/27/2019
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Author Biography

Jeanne Blasberg is the award-winning, bestselling author of Eden and The Nine. Her debut novel, Eden (She Writes Press 2017), is the winner of the Beverly Hills Book Awards for Women’s Fiction and finalist for both the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best New Voice in Fiction and the Sarton Women’s Book Award for Historical Fiction. The Nine was released in August 2019 by She Writes Press, and is the Gold Winner of the 2019 Foreward Indies Award for Thriller & Suspense and the winner of the Beverly Hills Books Awards for Literary Fiction and Regional Fiction.

After graduating from Smith College, Jeanne embarked on a career in finance. Even as she worked primarily with numbers, she always had an interest in writing. She made stops on Wall Street, Macy’s, and wrote case studies at Harvard Business School before turning seriously to fiction. She has kept a journal throughout her life, eventually taking inspiration from her childhood writings to pen her first novel, Eden.

Jeanne is the founder of the Westerly Memoir Project and a board member of the Boston Book Festival. She is a student and board member of Grub Street, one of the country’s pre-eminent creative writing centers, where is currently developing her third novel.

Jeanne and her husband split their time between Boston, MA and Westerly, RI. They have three grown children and love to travel, hike, ski, and spend time on the water.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Amanda Rofe for Readers' Favorite

The Nine by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg is a novel about the Webber family and their experiences with an elite boarding school. Hannah and Edward enroll their talented son in the exclusive Dunning Academy despite the exorbitant cost. The difficulty of keeping up with the fees was not to be their most pressing problem. Hannah does not cope well with Sam living away from home. The more she pushes for contact, the more he pulls away and her obsession with him comes at the expense of her marriage. At the academy, Sam is lured into friendships with teenagers from more privileged backgrounds. Their wealth and an unwritten code of conduct, which comes naturally to them, is something that Hannah is unable to compete with. Sam is asked to join a secret society within the school. Revered and steeped in history, it organizes sophisticated pranks. However, rather more sinister goings-on are afoot which Sam unwittingly uncovers.

The Nine is an absorbing novel with a compelling storyline which exposes the frightening way those in positions of power are easily able to sexually exploit vulnerable children. This is more pronounced with boarding schools that can disenfranchise parents and isolate children in their care. There were a number of engaging characters including Hannah who lost her son's teenage years to the live-in aspect of the boarding school system. The emotions she experienced and her subsequent behavior were intimately described and her pain was palpable. Sam was a self-effacing teenager with a satisfying personality and I felt a tremendous amount of empathy with him. Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg seamlessly blends a mix of coming of age school drama with sinister adult conspiracy and intrigue.