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review 2017-01-31 20:25
Right Behind You
Right Behind You - Lisa Gardner

By: Lisa Gardner

Quincy & Rainie, #7 

ISBN: 978-0525954583‚Äč

Publisher: Dutton 

Publication Date: 1/31/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars + +

 

Psychologically rich. Meticulously researched. Thought-provoking. Edge-of-your-seat thriller. Emotional. Gripping. Suspenseful. Gardner’s Best Yet! Top Books of 2017. 5 Stars +++

The "queen" of crime thrillers, Lisa Gardner returns to Bakersville, Oregon, following Find Her (2016) and the latest tantalizing prequel teaser: The 4th Man (Quincy & Rainie #6.5) with RIGHT BEHIND YOU — with fan favorites, highly anticipated retired FBI profiler and former police officer Quincy & Rainie dynamic duo: A heart-pounding, emotional, and gripping suspense crime thriller.

Fans will devour. Humans are complex. Hearts will go out to this brother and sister duo. Professional and personal lives connect. Where nothing is as it appears.

"Had a family once. Father. Mothers. Sister. Lived in our very own double-wide."

The opening takes us to a scene of domestic violence, abuse, and neglect. Two siblings. A brother and a younger sister. A brutal murder. A troubled past. Childhood trauma.

Flash forward years later, we catch up with Quincy and Rainie, retired FBI agent and former police officer, called in on a case, working with the local authorities in Oregon.

With the past books, Quincy was an FBI profiler and met Rainie, a deputy in Bakersville while working on a school shooting case. Now, both retired, they work together consulting on cold cases, or murders outside the police department’s norm.

They are experts in monsters. Homes can be broken. Can the members be mended by the love of others?

When Sharlah (5) and Telly (9) spent day and night trying to escape the violence of their parents- subjected to the unspeakable. Not a life, for an innocent and helpless boy and girl. There was no one to protect them from harm. The kids had to fend for themselves.

One night things get heated and the father tries to kill them. Telly comes to his sister’s rescue and the parents are murdered. They wind up in foster care separated.

Of course, Sharlah knows all too well about monsters. Her parents are dead, with no surviving relatives. Just a brother, four years older than her. She has not seen or heard from him since. She was very young and does not remember a lot about the night her parents died. No one talks about her brother. She has post-traumatic stress, and continues to go to therapy.

She had come to Rainie and Quincy with a case history of antisocial tendencies. They had qualified as foster parents despite Quincy's advanced years, and Rainie's continued struggle with alcohol. They plan on adoption. There is always a pull here with three different personalities.

Quincy was considered an expert in bonding. Sharlah was not easy. She was a lost girl. Broken. One who had been subjected to hardship and violence and had built the corresponding protective layers. She did not trust easily, nor reach out, with a lack of faith. However, she bonded with their dog, Luka. They were inseparable.

She was broken inside. Sharlah had been in their home for three years and they were close to adoption. She respects her soon to be parents and the work they do. However, she does not realize, nor do they, how she is connected to the case. The meaning of family. Everyone involved is part of this family unit.

Quincy is the quiet one; and Rainie, the emotional one. Sharlah really loves them, but not quite sure how to express her feelings. She has her guard up all the time. She knows they are experts in monsters, like herself. If you have read the other books in the series, you know the difficult journey this couple has traveled.

They are giving back by being foster parents to teenage daughter Sharlah, and their dog Luka. Luka is a former police officer. A trained member of law enforcement. He had to retire at five with a bum knee and not strong enough for active duty. Quincy got him for a cop friend and now he is Sharlah’s best friend. She was ten when she arrived in their home and had already been placed in many others.

We also meet Shelly the local small town Sherriff and fugitive tracker, Cal - nice added characters. There has been a shooting at the EZ Gas station in Bakersville, a backwoods town between Portland and Salem. Three victims. Multiple gun shots. A killer is on the loose.

They soon discover as the investigation is underway; there is a foster teen boy, who appears to be the perpetrator on a shooting spree. Why? What set him off? Could it possibly be Sharlah’s brother? The evidence is pointing his way.

He had been so good with his little sister, had read to her, taken her to the library and caring for her needs. Protecting her. However, upon their parent’s death, the siblings had been separated.

Quincy and Rainie fear for their daughter. Is Telly out to harm her? Where will he strike next? A psychotic break. A killer on the loose?

However, has Telly, the brother really killed his foster parents and the victims at the gas station? Or is it someone else? Why does he have photos of Sharlah?

As Quincy and Rainie fear for the safety of their own family and Sharlah, they also must dig deeper to understand what really happened all those years ago, at the murder scene to make sense of the events unfolding in the present.

The brother and sister duo have not seen or heard from one another for eight years. Why now? Did Sharlah have her own memories hidden away? Does she remember what went down that night so long ago? Is a brother trying to protect his sister, still today, after all these years?

One more person to kill. Secrets. Family is about trust.

The suspense builds as Gardner takes you back to the trailer, to the night it all began. The innocent lives of two young siblings and the painful cruel hand they were dealt. From tragedy, loss, pain, and trauma, to love, loyalty, and deep connections.

INTENSE! The author grabs you from page one (grabbed me with the preview included in The 4th Man) and never lets go, not even for a second. I knew I had to read this story. It is a "read in one sitting" kind of suspense. Psychologically rich, one of the best crime thrillers I have read this year. In addition, a vivid portrayal of the foster care system and the impact of both parents, and children have on one another.

With meticulous research and skillful crafting, Gardner combines law enforcement, profiling, cop procedures, domestic violence, foster care, social issues, juvenile system, adoption, alcoholism, at-risk kids, addiction, spree killing, fugitive tracking, crime, mystery, and suspense. It has it ALL.

In addition, to being a huge Quincy and Rainie and Gardner fan, (quickly going back to buy the previous audiobooks, to catch up); loved the relationship between Telly and Sharlah, and my favorite was the twist with Sandra and Frank (Telly’s foster parents), Sandra’s intriguing past and her relationship with Telly. Highly creative as the two families are intertwined. And let’s not forget the skill and love of a loyal dog.

Buy RIGHT BEHIND YOU, today! Gardner pulls out all the stops. Cannot wait for the next. Here’s hoping for more Quincy, Rainie, Telly and Sharlah. Gardner can flat out write complex crime, and spin a tale, like no one else.

A special thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

"Right Behind You" continues one of Gardner's frequent themes: that danger often lies close to home.

 

 




By Amy Wang | The Oregonian/OregonLive (Great interview).

Gardner's next book will be a follow-up to her 2016 hit "Find Her," part of her Detective D.D. Warren series and a return engagement for her character Flora Dane. "I'm working on a novel now where a family has been murdered but, to be different, the 16-year-old daughter is missing," Gardner said.

The question the police must answer is whether the girl was involved in the crime or was kidnapped. Fans can once again nominate themselves or a loved one to appear in the book by entering Gardner's Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy Sweepstakes. Read More

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Right-Behind-You
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review 2016-12-24 14:42
Witness
Witness - Caroline Mitchell

By: Caroline Mitchell 

ISBN: 9781503941502

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 12/20/2016

Format:  Paperback

My Rating:  5 Stars

 

Talented author, Caroline Mitchell returns following Love You to Death Detective Ruby Preston #1, landing on my Top Books of 2016 with yet another edge-of-your-seat thriller, WITNESS -A wicked, deliciously evil, slow-burning, taut psychological suspense crime thriller, with a killer twist.

The book begins with a brief crime scene, 2007. There has been a murder. Rebecca’s work colleague (teachers at the same school); Jake age twenty-two has been stabbed in the home of Rebecca. She is a key witness. She tells the police, her boyfriend Solomon Kemp, was jealous.

Rebecca Shepherd is afraid for her life. Solomon’s dad is a superintendent in the police department. This family has control. How would she ever be safe? She has tried to escape this man unsuccessfully in this past. Will they convict him and put him away?

What would it be like to finally be safe, from this monster? Not having to account for her time or whereabouts. Being able to make decisions, choose her own clothes. An escape route from the mental torture Solomon inflicted, on a daily basis. He was a murderer, after all. Her fiancé. Did he have a part in her mother's death?

Flash forward to 2016. Solomon has been released from prison after ten years. His father died while he was in prison. He had given up the last ten years of his life because of her, and she had repaid him in the most despicable way.

At first, he was unable to comprehend it. His disbelief turned to hatred burning for years from his prison cell. Prison, was not kind to the son of a police superintendent, particularly one that had been privately educated. He was no stranger to bullying, beatings, and sexual abuse.

Now he is out and planning his revenge. He had ten long years to work out how he was going to repay her misdeeds.

Rebecca has started a new life. She goes by the name of Becky Walker. Her reinvention had helped her begin again. She married a veterinarian, Sean with his own practice, and she worked as his part-time receptionist.

They had a quiet rural renovated farmhouse in the country in Pontyferry, with a young daughter Lottie, and dog, Bear. Also, Sean’s sister, Rhian with MS, who watches their daughter. A small knit community where everyone looked out for one another.

Now she feels like someone is watching her. Has her past come back to haunt her?. The nightmares have returned. She did not want to be dragged into the past, she had tried and worked hard to forget.

Solomon knows her secret. He would not rest until she paid for it.

Flashing back and forth from the past to present. From diary entries starting in 2007, readers get bits and pieces of the life of Rebecca. How she met Solomon and where it all went wrong. We also learn about Solomon's abusive childhood.

Like most domestic abusers, they start out handsome and charming and slowly develop their control and manipulation of their victim and their family. How would she ever break free?

Solomon is a computer genius and has the skills to control. He will carry out his plan. He is empowered. Watching Rebecca (Becky’s) every move from afar. He would enjoy stripping away the layers, testing the limits of her morals, until she revealed herself for what she really was. He always was one step ahead.

Becky soon realizes Solomon had been released from prison early. Her worst nightmare. She is looking over her shoulder, filled with fear day and night. Anxiety. Waiting for the bomb to drop. How long would it be before he came after her?. His thirst for revenge. She knew his skills and he would be able to track her down. She would be putting her entire family in harm’s way. She knew what Solomon was capable of.

Solomon has been in her home. He is watching her. Dark thoughts. Soon he begins his plan. He forces her to witness a crime. Each one is someone she knows. She has to choose the victim. Failure to respond, her family gets hurt. Nor can she talk to the police. A sick cat-and-mouse game, with only 60 seconds to decide. Tick Tock!

OMG! As usual, Mitchell knows how to build suspense and a pro at setting up elaborate "true-to-life" crime scenes. From her own past career in the law enforcement area, dealing with true to life domestic cases. Psychological suspense crosses suburban noir. Who is controlling whom?

What really made this thriller "over-the-top-delicious"--You are thinking, "Why would any person go along with these crazy demands?" Just go to the cops. After all, he is a convicted felon. Get a restraining order. However, he is dangerous, smart, and sly. Also, you are unsure if Rebecca (Becky) is a reliable narrator, which adds to the intrigue. She is complex. What is she hiding?

You know something is coming. There is a secret, Rebecca (Becky) is hiding. This secret is why she cannot come forward. Can she outsmart him?

This dark and an evil secret will keep readers glued to the pages! Carve out the time. It demands your undivided attention and will be" more than difficult" to put down. I read in one sitting, dying to know how this would turn out, page-turning to the explosive reveal. Trust me, it is Chilling! The author continues to get better and better (if this is possible).

Twisty, Gritty, Nail-Biting Grip-Lit!

Mitchell fans and those of B.A. Paris', Behind Closed Doors and Fiona Barton's The Widow will enjoy the WITNESS and the satisfying twist.

A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Witness
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review 2016-12-14 10:11
The Marriage Lie
The Marriage Lie - Kimberly Belle
ISBN: 0778319768
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: 12/27/2016
Format: Other
My Rating: 5 Stars

Top Books of 2016
 
Talented author, Kimberly S. Belle returns following The Ones We Trust (2015) and The Last Breath (2014), with a deliciously domestic psychological suspense thriller, THE MARRIAGE LIE.

“A page-turning” grip-lit. An exploration of the complex lies, betrayal, and dark secrets of a marriage. Do you really know your partner?

A happy husband and wife living in Atlanta, GA. Iris and Will Griffith, are approaching their seventh anniversary. They have their dream Victorian home on a quiet street in Inman Park with the porch and working on a baby to complete their family.

Will is headed out of town for a three- day business trip to Orlando, FL and gives Iris a beautiful anniversary ring, the night before. He is a Sr. Software Engineer with a consulting firm and has a conference to attend.

Iris is a school counselor at the exclusive K-12 Lake Forrest Academy in a leafy suburb of Atlanta. They are a privileged and elite tribe of troubled kids with wealthy parents of surgeons, news anchors, socialites, and professional athletes.

Soon the horrific news comes that Liberty Airlines Flight 23 has crashed, shortly after taking off from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Seattle Washington. All 179 passengers are presumed dead. However, it was not Will’s plane. He was on his way to Orlando. Safe, correct? However, he is not answering his phone.

Iris soon learns William Matthew Griffith was on that plane. How could this be? This has to be a mix-up. However, as Iris begins investigating, frantic with worry and fear over this unsettling news, she learns there was no conference for Cyber Security for Critical assets: An Intelligence Summit.

He cannot be dead. It was not possible.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. The stages of grief. How could a man headed to Orlando end up on a westward-bound plane? How could he have died? Could the conference have been moved to a different location? Was there another woman? Had he been cheating? Was he leading a secret life on the west coast?

Iris finds he booked a one-way trip. He booked two tickets in opposite directions. Why? Iris goes from heartbroken to being furious. He lied. How could he do this to her? To them? Terror overwhelms her.

With the help of her twin brother, Dave she begins digging into Will’s past. However, the question is, "does this lie override their seven years of marriage?" Does it erase their love?

Will said he grew up in Memphis and moved to Atlanta straight out of grad school at the University of Tennessee. His entire life had been on the east coast, not west. His parents were dead, and he had no siblings. He never talked of friends or family. Besides his colleagues and acquaintances his only high school friend residing in Costa Rica.

 



They had eloped when they married, with only her brother and his partner, James, and her parents, as witnesses. She knew his childhood wasn’t pleasant, but nothing something he talked about.

How well did she know her husband? Iris is determined to get answers. A pilot error. What if Will is not dead? How could he leave her here all alone unarmed and clueless to fight this battle? She wants to defend him; however, she is unsure.

She and her husband shared a home, a life, and the past. Their relationship had been built on trust and honesty. There had never been any reason for either of them to be jealous or suspicious. Until now.

Who is this Corban Hayes showing up from Will’s gym? She does not even know this guy. How could she mourn a guy she longer is certain she knows?

Could her husband be a wanted criminal, a serial killer, or a rapist, or a murderer? Nothing is as is appears. His job, his past, their life. Has it all been a lie? Money missing. Crazy messages. Something is not right. Does she want him to be dead, or face the fact he is not the person she married?

Things start getting weird, and she and her brother Dave begin to uncover more about Will’s dark past, leading us to more twists and turns, and the explosive conclusion! (great ending!)

From money, lies, deceit, blackmail, and betrayal. Innocent lives, justice, revenge. A twisty gripping ride and with each turn, you do not know whom to truth. Reliable? The author does an outstanding job of weaving the mystery and suspense with the deep dark secrets for a wild adventurous ride.

Psychological suspense and family drama with a perfect marriage on the exterior, yet beneath the façade; a marriage with dark secrets and lies with fatal repercussions. A chilling and haunting tale. Also a nice tie in with the student Eva. Those with money and those without--when money does not always provide happiness.

An ideal choice for book clubs and group discussions (as always, Belle includes an extensive guide). A thought-provoking question: To what extent does a person’s past influence or define one’s future.? There are many emotional complex decisions and moral dilemmas sprinkled throughout the novel. The what ifs; if faced with similar circumstances?

As always I enjoy re-visiting with the cool parts of Atlanta which I lived for many years, the Historic neighborhoods, landmarks, restaurants, and the wonderful Beltline. I could imagine myself back there! Belle's descriptions are so vivid.

I loved Dave, Iris’s twin brother. Kimberly adds just the amount of wit and humor with the psychological suspense and mystery, for a nice balance. I knew the first book I read by Belle, she would be an author to follow. Each book is unique, crossing several genres- love her writing style!

For fans of domestic suspense: Sandra Brown, Paula Treick DeBoard, Kate Moretti, Susan Crawford, Laura McNeill, and Paula Daly will enjoy this twisty look "behind closed doors" of a marriage.

A special thank you to the author, MIRA, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Cover love- The paperback is stunning!

JDCMustReadBooks

Three years in a row! My Top Book List for each year.

 


2014 The Last Breath
2015 The Ones We Trust
2016 The Marriage Lie

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/05/01/The-Marriage-Lie
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review 2016-11-02 20:13
The Other Sister
The Other Sister - Dianne Dixon
ISBN: 1492633542
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publication Date: 11/1/2016
Format: Other
My Rating: 5 Stars +++  

 

A special (big) "thank you" to Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.  Sooooo Good!

Life is the process of becoming. "It starts with your first breath and stays with you until your last. Just think of the power of it being able to continually reach toward the light. The possibilities are infinite.”

Talented storyteller, Dianne Dixon returns following (2013) The Book of Someday with her best yet, THE OTHER SISTER!. The puzzling, the beautiful concept of forgiveness.

Action-packed, beautifully written, compassionately told, and relentlessly suspenseful!

From saints to sinners, narcissists to decent and caring, love and hate—a wide range of emotions and contrasts; with one of the most profound and stunning journeys of two sisters and the people who come in and out of their lives. Evil versus good. Violence to peace.

A page-turner with all the ingredients to become a bestseller and a box office smash hit!. An emotional, thought-provoking, chilling psychological thriller.

Set in Providence, Rhode Island, a disturbing glimpse into the darkness that can cling to the underside of love. The opening, a mysterious Newport cliffside mansion. A wedding.

In years to come, seemingly random events taking place in the mansion that night would lead to brutal, unexpected violence—and to the discovery of something so bizarre it would be heart-stopping. No one could have known.

Someone would shatter Ali’s life. What would be less painful—to find out it was a stranger or someone close? Someone she loved. Ali was stuck with a lifelong guilt of her sister Morgan’s loneliness.

We hear from alternating POV: Morgan, Ali, Matt There is also another mysterious evil voice sprinkled throughout; however, the reader is kept in the dark until the identity is unveiled with the explosive conclusion (in a highly creative manner).

Ali, the pretty one- marries Matt. There were parts of him that he kept private. Hurts that she assumed were connected. Places no one would ever be allowed to go. Places that were closed and locked. She wanted to own a restaurant to carry out her grandmother's wishes. A husband, family, and a baby.Life gets complicated. An ex-boyfriend Levi. A tragedy. A professional hockey athlete. A dreadful past.

Morgan, an art curator at a museum. A devious selfish miserable witch, living in her sister's shadow. Full of insecurities, blame, spite, bitterness, and evil. She was ordinary. Ali and Morgan were not identical. Fraternal. Two people who shared a womb. Living in her sister's shadow. She seeks justice, revenge, and thinks this will bring balance.

Two sisters. Now age twenty-seven. A complex relationship. Morgan loves her sister. She would kill and die for her, and at the same time furious she even exists because she makes her invisible. Soulmates; thorns and comfort.

Ali has always carried Morgan. However, by Ali turning her back on Morgan, could Morgan possibly see her mistakes and view their relationship from a different perspective? When there is more to show the world than the injuries.

Morgan receives a mistaken text from a mysterious sender. She now calls Sam. He is like a therapist on call. She has never met him; however, his words will change her life. Sometimes the wrong person can turn out to be the right person. Sam was unlike anyone she had ever talked to. Never judgment or criticism.

From Maine, a place called BerryBlue Farm, where two young girls had spent the best time of their lives when they were kids. Not far from the quaint town of Kennebunkport, a loved grandmother’s death.

Memories. Love of cooking. Passions. Family. A sister’s relationship of love and hate. Secrets. Grudges. Guilt. Always a dance between exasperation and delight. From Rhode Island to California—an unleashing; a chain of events spiral out of control. Readers meet a variety of characters, connecting the twin sisters. The mysterious brown suitcase.

There is SO much here beyond the surface. Not only is this a mysterious, domestic suspense, and delicious crime thriller; it is deeply psychological, thought-provoking, and soul-searching. There is tremendous growth from the characters from the beginning of the book to the ending. Wisdom. Faith. Forgiveness. Atonement.

“The place where you don’t forget the hurts, but you let go of them and hold on to the love.”

What sets THE OTHER SISTER apart, is the HOOK! It is bold, engrossing, spellbinding. Character and plot-driven! Dixon never strays with needless side stories. The entire book is heart pounding, not knowing what is coming next. You are glued from page one to the final ending.

Engrossing! An emotional roller coaster of suspense that will keep you guessing until the final page is turned. Even at 94% to the Epilogue, Dixon continues to add compelling twists and turns and many surprises. There is nothing ordinary here, and cannot adequately describe the uniqueness of her writing.

I loved the texting, which again continues the theme of contrasts: revenge texts which destroyed. Mistaken texts, which come to heal.

"Life is a test and we are not here primarily to be happy. Maybe happiness isn't about never having problems. Maybe it's about learning from them."


I would encourage readers to review Dianne Dixon’s blog post-"the inspiration" behind THE OTHER SISTER. My New Book Solved an Old Mystery. (thanks for sharing). It is powerful and a takeaway message for all. An ideal choice for book clubs!

There are many red herrings; however, each and every one was worth the ride. Matt and Sam were the most mysterious of all with the unknowns. (I could almost see another novel featuring Sam's life; intriguing). You root for Ali, and despise Morgan; however, Dixon allows readers to view these characters from the "inside out," and below the surface. The heart of the matter.

Unforgettable characters captivate as they confront their hidden pasts and build upon their futures with faith, love, and grace. People can grow and change. They can keep on giving to each other, no matter what life throws at them. Every moment is a new opportunity to grow and change—the possibilities infinite.

If you appreciated this story of forgiveness, recommend reading Charles Martin’s (2016) Long Way Gone. “The Prodigal Son” retelling with a modern-day twist and Water From My Heart (2015).

THE OTHER SISTER is absolutely amazing! Brilliantly crafted, crossing many genres, making "My Top Books of 2016." Move this one to the "Top" of your list! Trust me, when I say, "it is like no other book I have ever read." Blown Away and stays with you, long after the ending.

Fans of Heather Gudenkauf, Diane Chamberlain, Jodi Picoult, Lisa Scottoline, and Mary Kubica will appreciate the writer's ability to cross several genres, with highly charged emotional topics.

A suspenseful, yet moving tale of lost dreams, unending love, truth seeking and in the end, inspiring redemption and discovery. This one is not to be missed!

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Photo credit:
Bill Youngblood Photography

 


  

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/04/The-Other-Sister
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review 2016-09-26 03:35
Echoes of Family
Echoes of Family - Barbara Claypole White

By: Barbara Claypole White 

ISBN: 9781503938137

Publisher: Lake Union

Publication Date: 9/27/2016

Format:  Paperback 

My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

A special thank you to Lake Union and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From the author of The Perfect Son (2015) A Brit, now residing in NC, Barbara Claypole White follows with another poignant and emotional story of an unconventional family-ECHOES OF FAMILY the darkness of mental illness, tragedy, guilt, regret, and secrets of the past- mixed with wit and compassion.

“You’re never truly lost if someone cares enough to come find you. Lost is waiting to be found.”

Marianne is a successful forty-something musician. She also is the founder of a non-profit group, a safe haven for teens in crisis. She loves music. She suffering from mental illness. Bipolar disorder. 

Full disclosure had never been Marianne’s thing, except thirty years earlier with Gabriel. Before she lied and broken his heart. Before she won the Olympic gold for teen drama. Before the bipolar monster had claimed her as his.

As the author mentions in her notes:

“The world is changing and the definition of family isn’t quite as simple as it used to be. I also wanted to flip The Perfect Son,which is a story driven by the notion that you can’t escape genetics, to write about a family with no blood ties.”

Marianne is a woman of extreme mood swings, (bipolar illness) whereas Gabriel has learned the art of emotional detachment. Lack of emotional control creates problems for both of them and drives the plot.

Marianne left England at age seventeen. This was her childhood village. She left behind secrets and tragedy. Someone died. Betrayal. Guilt. She left her first love, Gabriel, badly injured. A complex past relationship. Now in North Carolina she has found solace in a recording studio she runs with her husband, and her almost daughter, Jade.

Jade came to live with them as a teen when Marianne started a group, “Girls in Motion” for teenage girls in trouble. Darius is crazy about Marianne and thinks with love,  he can keep her well.

However, another fatality forces her back to England to confront her past. Thirty years later. She has to face her past in order to move on with her future. As her life spirals out of control, she tries to find answers in her past.

Jade and Darius try to track her down. No one knew the real truth. Gabriel, now a priest. A brother Simon, dead. An unborn baby. Demons of the past. A priest who preaches forgiveness but cannot forgive his brother and the girl who betrayed him. When things are not as they seem. Lies and deception.

With three female damaged characters, each respond to challenges in different ways and exhibit different kinds of heroism. A husband which was a do-over. A second chance. They were not going to discuss the past.

Gabriel and Simon represented the worst of her—everything she had tried to change. The guilt of what she did to her best friend. Everything that followed was a direct consequence of her secrets, and lies. The accident, her Pandora’s box.

The unknowns, fear, and questions: What if her husband Darius sees the inside of the box and decides he is done with her? She cannot lose him. She had worked too hard to protect he and Jade from her past.

Was it protection, or just shutting them out? Is she trusting someone from her past more than her present.

Marianna is not a very likable character; however, this could be part of the mental illness and her extreme lows and highs, which the author realistically portrays. Four broken people who choose to support one another.

There are many emotions, from a trauma which her family is in the dark, and a daughter, affected by her emotions. An abrupt flight from NC back to England and the conflicts of a family giving her space or support. When back in England she has to face her painful past and find the courage to be honest, ask for forgiveness from a family, and those important to her. The resilience of relationships.

“Sometimes the only way through darkness is to return to where it began.”

White has a unique way of reaching into her character’s minds and hearts-experiencing their pain and sorrow. Marianne is broken yet still tries desperately to come to terms with her demons. No one can fix this but her. From quirky characters – madness, and humor; White deftly portrays the complex ways mental health affects personal relationships from all sides- the patient and those who love them.

ECHOES OF FAMILY is a moving novel about hope, regret, recovery, and redemption. An ideal choice for book clubs and group discussions.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/06/05/Echoes-of-Family
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