Series: Karen Rose's Interconnecting Books, Chicago, IL
Author: Karen Rose
Read copy: Paperback
Published: January 21, 2010
Desperate Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive husband was to stage their deaths. Now all that remains of her former life is at the bottom of a lake.
As Caroline Stewart, Mary Grace has almost forgotten the nightmare she left behind nine years ago. Slowly she has learned to believe that her new life, and new identity, is here to stay.
Then her husband uncovers her hidden trail. Step by step, he's closing in on her and everyone she loves. Now Caroline must decide whether to flee again or whether the time has come to stay and fight.
She succeeded in escaping her abusive husband, creating a new identity and new life for herself and her son. But just as she's finally feeling safe after seven years, learning to trust again, learning to love, her past is about to come crashing down around her...
This is the first book by Karen Rose that went through my hands (back in 2010), but it certainly hasn't been the last.
This was an amazing story, a full-fledged thriller with enough elements of romance to satisfy even the pickiest of romantic suspense readers.
I found this book hard to put down (unfortunately I do need to sleep from time to time, so I had to take a short break). This is one of those books that grip the reader from the first page, pull her or him into the story, and don't spit her or him out until they're done.
The topic was chilling and more than realistic. The struggle of an abused woman, the courage it takes to pull herself out of the abyss of torment and rise literally out of her own ashes was beautifully done. The author, though sparing the reader a few gory details, didn't sugarcoat the subject, presenting it straight forward, unblinking and unflinching in all its starkness and bleakness.
Though the reader is induced to feel a modicum of pity for the heroine that pity doesn't have the time or momentum to take a life of its own and take over the story, because the author gives the heroine enough spine, spunk, stubbornness, and determination for the reader to quickly forget the pity, and admire the heroine instead.
The characters and their actions are realistic and believable, portrayed with a staggering accuracy. Though this is a work of fiction, Ms. Rose portrayed her characters as real people, with real feelings, with real flaws, making real (and sometimes stupid) mistakes, giving the reader ample opportunity to empathize with them, all the while creating interesting and chilling food for thought. Because what happened in this story happens out there every single day. And people, as the people who knew Mary Grace Winters, tend to turn a blind eye to it, grasping at any plausible explanation that might ease their minds.
This truly was an intense, chilling, thrilling roller-coaster ride of a romantic suspense novel with wonderfully developed and wonderfully flawed characters, a twisted beyond measure villain, edge-of-the-razor suspense, nail-biting tension, nice sprinkle of romance, wonderfully paced and amazingly well-written. 10 stars out of 5!