Customer Review

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisitely executed thriller, July 19, 2011
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This review is from: A Small Fortune (Fortune Series) (Paperback)
Audrey Braun's novel "A Small Fortune" intrigued me with its lightly and deftly drawn writing. Braun doesn't bog the reader down with cumbersome scene-setting, and the heroine's inner monologue is thankfully concise and sometimes enigmatic. The descriptive language is brief and vivid--like flashes of light that make you blink.
The intrigue begins with Celia, a woman who seems to have it all--a ruggedly handsome husband who takes care of her, a son she adores, a job as an editor that she clearly loves. However, she also has a inexplicable feeling that something is wrong . . . something is missing. She valiantly tries to fight this feeling, blaming it on overwork and stress. She is about to leave for a vacation to hopefully heal her troubled relationships and mind. A week of utter relaxation by the beach in Mexico is just what the doctor ordered, and just what her ever thoughtful husband has planned. But this idyll in paradise is shattered when Celia is suddenly abducted by strangers who seem to know who she is all too well. The plot winds its way through past and future, filled with the deepest betrayals of love and blood, but also with moments of unlikely redemption. Celia is betrayed by some of those she holds closest, but she also finds kindred spirits in strangers, who embrace her as a new friend, and willingly do anything to help her find her way back home.
I did love the heroine. She is the right mix of reflective and impulsive. Passionate, smart, sensitive, and confused--she seemed so real. Nothing like the typical passive, blushing damsel in distress. She is clearly the strongest character but she doesn't have to prove this to anyone. She simply naturally assumes this position. The other characters are also delightfully complex. Benicio, her chance meeting who turns into unlikely ally, doesn't fit into a stereotypical box either. He is the surprisingly sensitive product of a very macho culture. A graceful, melancholy man with an unexpected comedic flair. Her sullen, sixteen year old son Olivier is the perfect teenager--rebellious and scornful, but with a vulnerable mixture of love and confusion underneath. Her husband, Johnathan, is also a man with many unturned sides. Careful, cautious, responsible. The weight of his responsibility as a husband and father seems to sit easily on his broad shoulders. Even he, who Celia believes she knows inside and out, has his secrets. The characters are filled with human imperfections and instants of redemption. There are so many watercolored shades of grey.
This was a thriller, so obviously, the plot was compelling. Filled with twists, turns, and exotic locals. And an enigmatic past that merges seamlessly with the present. Braun dances on the edge of belief with a story that is almost too crazy to be true, but not quite. Her skillful blend of concrete, everyday details and high drama was delightful
So, in summation, "A Small Fortune" is a pretty damn good read. It's a fast-paced, thrilling, and romantic novel that also has an elegance of language and description that sets it apart. I picked it up, and devoured it, and it left a vivid, lingering, and refreshing memory.
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