SUMMARY: All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?
Convicted of a crime she didn't commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish - time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.
But Allie's return home shatters the quaint, coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia. Even her own daughter Caroline, now a teenager, bristles at Allie's claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a battle for the truth, digging deeply into the past even if it threatens her parole status, personal safety, and the already fragile bond with family.
As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret - one that holds the key to Allie's freedom.
REVIEW: This book was really intriguing. The first draw was its setting in Brunswick, GA. Having been there once and having friends that live there, I found myself looking for familiar places as I read. Second draw was the story lines. Would Allie be able to find out who murdered the coach? What would her relationship be like with her daughter after being separated so long? Would they be able to reclaim the time lost? Would Allie be able to clear her name and, if so, how would she do it?
The book is written from three views: Allie, the convicted murderer; Caroline, Allie's teenage daughter; and Emma, Allie's sister and Caroline's caregiver while Allie was incarcerated. The characters became more real to me as I read their thoughts about situations and why they did what they did in response to events or problems. Caroline was probably my favorite character. Her life was turned upside down when her mother was found guilty and again when she was released from prison. You see her trying to fit in with the popular crowd and how she reacts when she is suddenly rejected by them. She is torn between getting to know her mom again and loving her aunt because she has a difficult time understanding she can do both.
The author does an excellent job weaving the past with the present and all the different characters together. I loved how the story slowly unfolded and how circumstances from the past are catalysts for current events. The detail and depth of each character was impressive. Ms. McNeill did a wonderful job keeping you guessing about how the story would end. Even though I thought I knew who killed the coach, there were details I hadn't figured on that showed up in the finale. It was an excellent book that I really enjoyed reading.
This book was provided by Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson Publishers
for review without compensation.
Laura McNeill is a writer, mom, travel enthusiast, and coffee drinker. In her former life, she was a television news anchor for CBS News affiliates in New York and Alabama. Laura holds a master's degree in Journalism from the Ohio State University and it completing a PhD in Instructional Leadership at the University of Alabama. She lives in North Alabama with her family.