To say that Leah McPhillen is unlucky in love would be an understatement. Every man she has ever loved has suddenly left her without explanation. When she finally meets a man who piques her interest, the date is interrupted by a horrendous crash, and Leah's father, Officer Liam "Phil" McPhillen, is blamed for it since he was the officer in pursuit of the stolen truck. Add to this a young cousin whose life is in danger and Leah McPhillen is about to find love, danger and intrigue in the little town of Ocean Shores, Mississippi.
A Place Called Grace by Fran Driscoll Roberts is a mess of a book. I just finished it, and I am not at all sure about what I just read. I am afraid this review is going to be a bit of a rant.
1. The book started with an abused child locked in a house. She is starving and talking about her mother’s boyfriend, who is her abuser. The child’s mother seems quite content to continue sleeping with this man. The child has old cigarette burns on her feet. She has no food. Her grandmother lives THREE BLOCKS away. Apparently, the grandma has tried to get custody of the child but to no avail. Too bad, little abused child! This was completely unrealistic. The child speaks of her abuse and fear. Oh, I almost forgot! He takes PICTURES of the little girl—not naked pictures, but provocative ones that he SELLS. The little girl makes her way to Grandma’s house and is spirited away to another town. While there, she runs away three times. One time, she nearly drowns after being knocked down by a wave. When she returns home, one of the relatives who “saved” her from her abuser threatens to “tear up her bottom”. Really? Really?
2. The main character, a sad single lady, starts dating a man who she meets at a library. He seems nice, and sad single lady goes to lunch with him. A car crashes through the window. It is occupied by two teenagers. One dies. The car was being chased by a policeman, who happens to be sad single lady’s FATHER. The community mostly blames the cop for the wreck. Cue nasty phone calls, poop left on the porch, etc. The parents of the teenager who dies in the wreck are characterized as people who are just out for money during the trial of the officer. There is no discussion whatsoever of the appropriateness of the characters’ actions.
3. There is a Bible verse at the beginning of every chapter for no discernable reason.
4. Toward the middle of the book, the cop dad starts working on an unsolved cold case involving two dead CHILDREN—who both have wrist tattoos. Wait, what? And they are obviously related to each other and there is probably a third victim. This story line never goes anywhere. Murders are not solved. We have no idea who did it.
5. Sad single lady has a best friend who is marrying the biggest douche in the world. She is basically told not to say a word against the boyfriend and to just suck it up. Best friend loves him—end of story.
6. Sad single lady’s boyfriend has a dead wife that she did not know about and a shady business life. He keeps both of these things from her. She forgives him. And then—MIRACLE! He decides to get baptized (and proposes and gives bigger flowers to sad single girl).
7. Add a sick relative, the abuser coming back to kidnap the girl, some discussions about why a cop likes a motorcycle rather than a car, and you have the sum total of this book.
This one gets a firm PASS from me.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Regina