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SPOILER ALERTS: I was floored when the story took a 4 year jump, and then a 10 year jump, and ended with a 20 year jump. What a creative, original, unique approach! The first section, "Shar," was okay but didn't grab me. However, when I read the first page of part two, "Brian," I was hooked and didn't put the book down until I finished it. Stellar from part two on.
I was so dismayed when the story ended abruptly; I whined and groused to my husband for several minutes. In hindsight, I'm glad Ms. Seed did not wrap it all up nicely with a bow; that would have been the easy way out. Elizabeth (I prefer using the name of the woman she became instead of the name of the woman she outgrew; I like strong Elizabeth much more than naive Shar) stepping into the light was the perfect ending. Now I can imagine the conclusion any way I prefer.
Now I am off to discover what other books Ms. Seed has written. Bravo, Ms. Seed. Job well done.
A great debut novel from an excellent writer.
The pacing is brisk, the dialogue authentic, the mystery intriguing. The reader is compelled to turn just one more page. And one more...and just one more. But it's Sharlah and Brian that propel this story. In them, the writer has crafted real people, flawed but heartbreakingly real, and when the story ends, the reader has a hard time letting them go.
GIven that this is a book about a woman with a hidden past, and that it doesn't read like a debut novel, I can only conclude that Ms. Seed is harboring a secret past herself, and is actually a much more experienced novelist.
The story revolves around Sharlah and Brian, two young people who are drawn into a criminal situation. As Sharlah deals with obstacles in her life, we come to see her as a "survivor" in the strongest sense of the word. In persevering through this situation, she grows and shows her strength and determination. It's Brian's ill-considered decisions that led to their situation, but his character also shows great love and growth through the trials in his life.
This is really a mystery and a story about family, misplaced loyalty and, most of all, love. It shines through the entire novel. I loved it!
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