Sunday, 27 February 2011

A Very Special Delivery - Linda Goodnight

It was the surprise of a lifetime for recluse Molly McCreight when single dad Ethan Hunter entrusted her with his infant daughter while he delivered medicine to an elderly man during an ice storm. Past experience had taught Molly how fragile life could be, but she was touched by this stranger's faith in her abilities. Once the storm had passed, though, and her guests returned home, normalcy eluded Molly. The Hunters' presence had brought much-needed joy to her quiet world, but their absence threatened to crush her forever. Still, was she ready to admit that this tiny family held the key to the future she'd always secretly craved?

I actually adored this book. It had two of my favourite plot contrivances - snowbound and single fathers! I really like the idea of two people thrown together under unusual circumstances building a relationship out of being in such close contact with each other. It's idealistic, and I've no idea if it really does work out so wonderfully for people in real life, but it's definitely been the basis of some of my favourite romance novels, including Montana Man by Barbara Delinsky. Linda Goodnight's take on this plot was excellent, and had the added bonus of featuring an adorable baby! Ethan was the perfect beta hero - caring, sensitive, a committed father, and so much more. I'm definitely becoming a fan of the way Love Inspired characterise their heroes.

While Molly and Ethan build up their friendship when stuck in the farmhouse during the snowstorm, it's when they're back in the real world that their relationship really begins. Molly, who had hidden away after witnessing a horrific tragedy, finds herself forced to integrate back into society and it becomes impossible for her to avoid Ethan, and her growing attraction to him. I'm definitely a fan of slow-paced romances where the characters gently get to know each other, rather than the ones that zoom by, full of problems and "Big Misunderstandings". There was never a moment when I felt that Molly and Ethan's relationship was unrealistic.

I loved that both Molly and Ethan had histories and troubled pasts to deal with. Ethan's was more conventional, but I was really impressed with the way that Molly's trauma was dealt with. She was such an unusual yet truly endearing heroine. I guessed quite early on what had happened to her, but her road to healing was wonderful to read.

My only complaint would have to be that some of the references that Molly and Ethan made to God and Christianity felt a little bit forced. I do like my characters to turn to God when they're in need, but occasionally Love Inspired books put it across in a slightly unrealistic manner. I'm also not entirely sure if I'm completely happy with the ending. While I do love my books to have happy endings and be tied up in a nice, pretty bow, Molly's discussion with her sister felt a bit too perfect.

I'll have to give this a 9/10 as there are just a couple of things that I'm unsure about. Other than that, this was a lovely little romance that cheered me up in between a more challenging book and coursework. I'll definitely be looking for more Love Inspired books from this author.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Hometown Bride - Jillian Hart

Emma Jensen has guarded her heart since her emotionally abusive husband's death a year ago, despite the advances of many eligible bachelors in her hometown. The only man she can bring herself to trust is her childhood friend, Jeff Kendall, who always brightens her day when she enters his diner to buy lunch. Little does she know that Jeff has been in love with her since that day in Sunday School where they both reached for the same crayon. Jeff has been too shy to say anything, but now that young men are creeping out of the woodwork of their town to compete for Emma's affections, it may be time to try to finally tell Emma how he feels.

This is my third foray into the Love Inspired series from Harlequin and, like they say, third time lucky! I absolutely adored this story. Yes, it uses a stereotypical romance plot but Jillian Hart is a wonderful writer and really made me care about these characters. I completely fell in love with the small-town feel of this novella and I wish I could have read more about the residents of Emma and Jeff's hometown. It was amusing to watch Emma and Jeff attempt to thwart attempts to pair them up, yet slowly coming to realise that maybe their neighbours weren't being unrealistic.

Due to the shortness of this novella, Emma and Jeff's relationship progressed rapidly. Yet I still felt that they were portrayed realistically considering their circumstances and I was anxiously awaiting the moment when one of them would confess their love to the other. My only real complaint would be that I wasn't entirely convinced by Jeff's "shyness" having stopped him from telling Emma how he felt about her. From the way he acted around her and the playful, bantering tones of their conversations, you wouldn't think that he was shy at all. I would have preferred it if it was simply that Jeff didn't want to seem to forward in asking out someone who had recently been widowed. But truth be told, I've never been overly fond of the "I've secretly been in love with you forever" plots.

While I wasn't too keen on the premise of the story, I was immediately drawn into it and immersed in the lives of the characters and their hometown. This is a wonderful novella for anyone who is an avid Love Inspired fan or someone trying this series for the first time. I will definitely be reading more from Jillian Hart in the future. 9/10

You can download this novella from the Tell Harlequin website, here.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Raider's Heart - Marcia Gruver

Living a life of luxury in a blossoming North Carolina town, Dawsey Wilkes does not suspect that the root of her family’s problems is hidden in the bandit-ridden backwoods. Dawsey has never questioned whether her father’s mental breakdown was due to anything more than her mother’s death, which left the lonely and heartbroken widower to raise infant Dawsey by himself. But when she comes across thieves in her father’s study, Dawsey is literally ripped from her privileged life. She finds herself deep in the woods of Shuffletown, where one of her captors is a girl who could be her doppelganger. Could Ellie McRae hold the key to her family’s troubles? And will Dawsey make it back to her father before one of Ellie’s brothers wins her heart?

What sounded like a fast-paced, action-filled historical romance about bandits and imprisoned girls didn’t quite meet my expectations. It wasn’t until chapter thirteen that anything actually occurred to bring our hero and heroine together, and I was almost ready to give up. While I was immediately captivated by the story of Dawsey, her mentally unstable father and her guardian aunt, it took me longer to warm up to the McRae family. We’re introduced to the character of Ellie – whose name isn’t on the back-cover of the book, confusingly me immensely as I tried to work out who she was and why she had so much page-time – and her older brothers, Duncan and Hooper – neither of whom interested me, making me wonder why one of them would turn out to be Dawsey’s love-interest. Thankfully, once Dawsey was kidnapped in chapter thirteen the story picked up the pace and was able to keep my interest.

I eventually warmed to the McRae family and they were a very endearing, entertaining bunch of characters. They explained to Dawsey why they were living in the backwoods of North Carolina, and we got a very small history lesson on the suffering that Native Americans experienced during the Civil War. At least, I think that’s what they were talking about. The details were so vague that someone who hasn’t studied this period of US history might not have understood the McRae’s explanation. I prefer my historical romances to actually have some real history in them, rather than just having a general “historical” feel because the characters ride horses, hunt and occasionally reference a war gone by. However, I did enjoy reading about the McRae’s and witnessing Dawsey’s growing relationship with them. Hooper became an interesting character, but he didn’t seem as fleshed out as Dawsey and Ellie. As for Duncan, he had so little page-time that I immediately suspected that he would lose the fight for Dawsey’s affection. Despite this, it was still amusing to see the two brothers fight over our heroine, if a bit redundant.

Ellie got a little romantic subplot of her own, and I have to admit that at times I preferred her story to Dawsey’s. My only complaint about Ellie would be her slightly awkward, unneeded discussions with Dawsey about God and prayer. Every so often, the author would chuck in a scene where Dawsey witnessed to Ellie and it felt very forced, making for uncomfortable reading. I’m not sure why the author decided to add these sections when Dawsey’s faith in God was already apparent and succeeded in classifying the novel as inspirational. Other than this, Ellie and Dawsey were wonderful characters. Even if Hooper and Duncan weren’t entirely convincing, the girls were, suggesting that perhaps the author needs to work on her portrayal of male characters. That said, I would be interested in reading more about Duncan and I would consider continuing this series if further books featured him and Ellie.

While I have a lot of criticisms of this book, I’ll admit that it was a pleasant read and kept me entertained. Raider’s Heart doesn’t bring anything particularly new and original to the genre of inspirational historical romance, but readers can rely on Marcia Gruver’s Backwoods Buccaneers series to provide an interesting setting, plenty of conflict, clean romance and a splash of history. 7/10

Many thanks to Barbour and NetGalley for giving me the chance to review this book.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

An Amish Love - Kelly Long, Kathleen Fuller & Beth Wiseman

Best-selling authors Kathleen Fuller and Beth Wiseman are joined by Kelly Long, who entered the Amish genre last year with her debut Sarah’s Garden, in this romantic novella collection. An Amish Love features three interlocking stories of love, starting with an accidental marriage in Kelly Long’s A Marriage of the Heart and moving on to broken hearts embarking on a new relationship in What the Heart Sees by Kathleen Fuller. The anthology finishes on an optimistic note for the future with a late in life couple falling in love all over again in Beth Wiseman’s Healing Hearts.

From a glance at the front cover and the synopsis of this collection, one can be forgiven for assuming that this is a light, predictable selection of stories about the Amish. Even I expected this, and I’ve been an avid reader of Amish romances for almost two years now. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that each author was bringing something new and original to the genre.

Kelly Long, whose debut novel I absolutely adored, places her protagonist, Abby Kauffman, in an unusual situation and shows us how love can blossom in the most unexpected places. After a newcomer to the community, Joseph Lambert, fails to give Abby the attention she believes she deserves, she accuses him of misbehaving with her. But the joke is on her when her father forces them into a marriage of convenience in order to protect her honour – and much to her shock, Joseph agrees to this arrangement! While I’ll freely admit that the premise of this novella is a bit unbelievable, I loved watching Abby and Joseph’s relationship develop. Kelly brings something unexpected but most welcome to the Amish genre with the undeniable attraction and chemistry between her characters. As much as I’m a fan of “sweet” romance, I’m often disappointed by inspirational authors who fail to acknowledge this important aspect of relationships – bravo to Kelly for doing the opposite! 9/10

Kathleen Fuller’s story is definitely my favourite in this collection, especially as she shows us the flawed side of the Amish. While we uphold the Amish as being people of forgiveness, Kathleen dares to admit the obvious – that forgiveness doesn’t come easily or painlessly. Christopher Miller left the Amish after his fiancée was killed in a car accident, and he still holds a grudge against the driver of the car when he finally returns five years later. So it doesn’t sit well that his younger sister is engaged to be married to this man. Through the help of Ellie Chupp, who lost her eyesight in the same accident, he slowly learns to let go of his deceased fiancée – and to forgive and ask for forgiveness himself. While this story focused more on the developing relationship between Chris and Ellie, rather than romance, there was something simple and beautiful about the flawed nature of all of the characters that really appealed to me. Kathleen is a new author to me and I will definitely be looking out for more of her work. 10/10

I wasn’t quite so fond of Beth Wiseman’s addition to the collection. I found that it became a bit over-the-top and cheesy towards the end, but I truly appreciated the fact that Beth decided to focus on an older couple. Too many romance novels focus on young couples in their prime, and it often makes us forget how important it is to keep romance alive within marriage. Levina and Naaman Lapp have been married for over thirty years, but once all their children have left home they realise that they’ve drifted apart. Naaman takes a trip to visit family in Ohio and doesn’t return for almost a year – and when he does, their relationship needs even more work. Slowly, they learn to fall in love again, and Naaman is able to regain his wife’s trust. As someone who is currently reading a pile of marriage-preparation books, it was encouraging to see someone acknowledging the strain that raising a family can put on marriage and how important it is to set aside some time just for the two of you. However, there was a subplot about the possibility of Naaman being in trouble with the law that just didn’t seem to fit with the feel of the novella and spoiled this story a bit for me. 8/10

This collection is perfect for anyone who is already a fan of Amish fiction, but would also suit those who want to experiment with this genre but don’t know where to start. An Amish Love features three of the best authors of this popular genre, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to discover new stories about our beloved Plain folk. Overall rating: 9/10

I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Dark Harvest - Karen Harper

Policewoman Kat Lindley is running from the big-city job that nearly got her killed, and from memories of the abused boy she failed to save. She agrees to undertake a dangerous masquerade within the peaceful Amish community of Maplecreek, desperate to save its children.

Widower Luke Brand is a leader in the Amish community. But his people are under attack from unknown assailants. The community is reluctant to turn to the outside world—until a particularly vicious assault forces Luke to seek help.

Together Luke and Kat are determined to bring justice to the perpetrators, while struggling to suppress the unspoken and forbidden feelings growing between them. But when the case takes a deadly turn, Kat must race to uncover the menace that threatens the people she has grown to deeply respect—before Luke becomes the next victim.

After rehabilitating from a gunshot wound, policewoman Kat is keen to find a job away from the city, where crime will hopefully be at a minimum. Maplecreek, Ohio appears to be the perfect setting - after all, aren't the Amish pacifists? But soon she finds herself being talked into dressing Amish and posing as widower Luke's betrothed in order to gain evidence on hate crimes against the Plain people. Kat - now called Katie - quickly finds herself falling for Luke's adorable children, all the more convinced that she must stop the perpetrators. But as she finds herself drawing closer to the Sarah and Eli - and their father - the crimes increase, and Kat knows that she has to race to unravel the mystery before a member of her new family is the next victim...

This would be the perfect read for those who are interested in Amish fiction, but prefer books that aren't entirely focused on romance. So if you enjoyed Jodi Picoult's Plain Truth or any of Marta Perry's romantic suspenses, this may be be the book for you. Although I'm a true romantic at heart, I devoured the Famous Five mysteries and any Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on as a child, so naturally romantic suspense has an appeal to me. I wasn't sure what I'd make of Dark Harvest as it sounded rather sinister (my fiancé asked me if it was an "Amish horror book"!) but I ended up falling in love with the community of Maplecreek, Ohio.

If you're worried that this is merely a mystery planted in an Amish settlement to make it more original, fret no more. Not only has Karen Harper clearly done her research, but she also grew up in Ohio, close to Holmes Country. I may not be an expert on the Amish, but the detail Karen gives about the dress, food and farming in Maplecreek definitely has an authentic feel to it. Seeing the area through the eyes of outsider, Kat, certainly has a different impression than the descriptions in Amish novels featuring those who have grown up in the faith. Kat's reaction to the tall corn fields made the farm feel incredibly claustrophobic and emphasised how cut-off from the world the Amish truly are - and how vulnerable they are to outside attacks.

I had absolutely no idea who was behind the hate crimes, and although I was able to write one character off as being a red herring, the other four suspects had me mystified. Despite my many years of reading Nancy Drew novels, even I was surprised with the ending. I always love a book where I can't figure out the mystery before the main character, so I'm definitely impressed with Karen's ability to baffle the reader. At times, it almost felt as if Kat couldn't trust anyone, and I really felt her plight. Although she was an endearing character right from the start, I found that I loved her even more by the end of the novel and was really hoping that she'd find her happy ending. I think my only real problem with Kat is that she was continually getting herself into trouble by running off to investigate something without asking for help or telling anyone what she was doing. She was a bit too stubborn and often ended up unintentionally being a damsel in distress!

The romance between Kat and Luke obviously isn't the main focus of the book, and I'd have to say that it only takes up 10-20% of it. If you're not a fan of romance, you could always skim the particularly soppy sections, of which there are very few. I enjoyed watching Kat and Luke's relationship develop, and witnessing how they cared for each other. While there are a few passionate kisses here and there, the majority of their relationship is based on trust and wanting to look out for the other person. Luke feels a responsibility for Kat because she's living on his property, and this eventually becomes something more. And Kat finds herself discovering how much she wants a husband and family, realising how many admirable qualities Luke has. I was pleased that Karen hadn't gone down the route of creating the stereotypical Amish male - the kind that seems moody and brooding, doesn't show any interest in the female protagonist, and she ultimately has to break down the walls of communication to make him notice her. Luke was friendly and caring from the start of this novel, and eventually this turns into a romantic attraction, despite the differences in cultures. Basically, Karen shows that the Amish have human emotions too, and even they become attracted to people that they may think are "wrong for them".

Despite my slight annoyance with Kat, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. As much as I adore love stories, a good romantic suspense can be incredibly satisfying. This book had my adrenaline pumping and was impossible to put down. If you're a fan of mysteries, thrillers or just the Amish, I'd definitely recommend checking out Karen Harper's novels. While this is technically the second book in a series, they can be read in any order. The Maplecreek Amish series is currently being reissued by Mira, and Karen has a new novel, Fall from Pride, due for publication in July 2011. 9/10

Monday, 7 February 2011

Shiver - Maggie Steifvater

Grace is fascinated by the wolves in the woods behind her house; one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. Every winter, she watches him but every summer, he disappears. Sam leads two lives. In winter he stays in the frozen woods, with the protection of the pack.n summer, he has a few precious months to be human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. When Grace and Sam finally meet they realize they can't bear to be apart. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human - or risk losing himself, and Grace, for ever.

I really did want to enjoy this. In fact, I've been wanting to read it for a while, ever since I finished the Twilight books. Sadly, this paled in comparison. Admittedly, I'm not a massive YA fan. I stopped reading teen novels when I was about sixteen, when I realised that I wasn't going to meet Mr Right in the hallway of my high school, that I didn't really care about fashion or celebrities and that I didn't actually have anything in common with these heroines. This was pretty much my problem with Shiver - the idea of meeting your "soulmate" when you're still in high school really grates me. This book had too much romance and not enough action (this coming from an avid reader of Amish romances who is currently planning her wedding...) I also didn't really like the whole idea that Grace and Sam had some sort of mysterious wolf-bond that meant that they'd actually been in love for years. I couldn't get my head around this so it creeped me out that they were all over each other from the first day they met at humans. The relationship developed far too quickly and I couldn't help but think that it would give the wrong ideas to any impressionable teenage girls reading this book.

I think one of my other problems was that while this book is advertised as being about werewolves, it didn't really go into much detail about how werewolves came to exist or anything else along those lines. Other than the explaining that the transformation from human into werewolf was due to temperature changes, we didn't actually find out anything about them. I have to admit, the reason I enjoyed the Twilight books so much is because I felt the portrayal of vampires was really original and had a lot of thought put into it. Here, it felt like the author had made Sam a werewolf just so teenage girls could swoon over him and had not bothered to go into any details. I would have loved more insight about the werewolves, and I got quite interested near the end of the book when a "cure" was discussed, but this is the only point where it looked like the author was delving deeper into the mysteries of the werewolves. Other than that, everything is so vague. This book is mainly romance with a smattering of paranormal to make it seem "original".

I also felt that everything was horrifically underdeveloped. Grace doesn't seem to have any flaws or weaknesses and she never expresses feelings about anything other than Sam. For example, the reader witnesses her issues with her parents but she never vocalises her feelings about them until Sam prompts her. Sam, at least, seemed to be a bit more developed and freely expressed emotions about his past, but Grace felt like a bit of a cardboard cut-out. Grace's friends were also a bit bland. Rachel was barely there, Olivia needed far more backstory and seemed to be merely there to bring certain points in the plot together, but at least Isabel had a personality that made her stand out from the others, even if she was a walking stereotype. Grace's mother started to become more interesting, but her dad might as well have not even existed. I just felt like I never connected with any of the characters, not even Grace. Sometimes I felt like I was understanding Sam, but Grace read like a stereotypical girl, minus any flaws and the typical teenage drama.

I'm aware that there are two more books in this series, but I'm not entirely sure where they can go with the story as it seemed to end quite happily for our hero and heroine. Even I was pleased, despite not really caring about any of the characters. The story did pick up towards the end and I became interested in where it was going, but I still never really connected with the characters. Perhaps this is due to not being a teenager, or my general dislike of teenage romances, or simply because this was a rather stereotypical story with standard characters. Either way, I'm giving it a generous 6/10. I didn't hate it, and it held my interest enough for me to continue reading until the end. But every time my fiancé saw me reading it, I did genuinely say "It's rather lame" and proceed to make fun of several plot points. I won't be burning this book, but I probably won't be reading the second in the series either.

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Prodigal - Beverly Lewis

Book 4 in the bestselling Abram's Daughters series. The compelling and continuing chronicle of Abram Ebersol’s family, beginning in the mid-1940s, moves forward in time and scope to the late 50s. The devout Ebersols have faced sometimes-painful divisions and separations--if not geographical, those of the heart. Leah, possibly most of all, has borne losses and revelations that would have undone another whose faith was not firmly established in the God her beloved mother knew so fervently. Leah also has endured the ultimate test of her fortitude, the unexpected return of her shunned sister, Sadie, and the renewed sense of betrayal that arrives home with her. But since the close of The Sacrifice, Leah has occupied her heart and hands with the overseeing of the Ebersol Cottage and the raising of her motherless younger siblings. This includes vivacious Lydiann, who has arrived at the traditional rumschpringe, the time for testing her wings and her willingness to commit to the Old Ways. Will she take the sorrowful path of her older sister Sadie, or will Mamma Leah’s good judgment guide Lydiann safely to her baptismal covenant?

It's been several months since I read #3 in the Abram's Daughters series and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, despite my changing reading tastes, I still adore these books. While it can be argued that Beverly Lewis's novels always feature a lot of heartache and sadness, there's something in her style of writing that is authentically Amish and truly brings her characters to life. It's not just the way that they speak, but the entire narrative that features typical Plain words and phrases, really making you feel as if you're in the heart of Lancaster County. Beverly Lewis's characters might not have happy, fuzzy lives like the protagonists in other Amish novels, but I do love the way that she writes.

I don't want to spoil this book for anyone who hasn't read this far into the series, but I was pleased that some plot points were starting to be wrapped up. Naturally, since #5 is titled The Revelation, all of the mysteries of the Ebersol family are soon to be explained. I was blown away by one discovery, which I was sure I'd already figured out, but alas I'd followed a red herring! The actual outcome of the situation made everything much more intriguing. There were a few sad points in this book, but not as many as in previous installments in the series, and it finally ended on a positive note. I'm hoping that there will be happy ending for all of the characters, especially Leah and Sadie who have suffered so much heartache.

I was also intrigued by the members of the Ebersol family coming closer in their relationships with God through studying the Bible. While the Amish community featured in this series are God-fearing people, there is little emphasis on personal prayer and studying scripture, and slowly the characters have been discovering that there is more to God than their Bishop preaches about on Sundays. I'm wondering how this plot point will end as I've got the impression that having such a close relationship with God is frowned upon in the community. Of course, I'm sure that other Amish settlements have different beliefs regarding the Bible and prayer, but I've found it interesting reading about what must be representative of others. There were also a few instances where family members prayed for healing which I enjoyed, particularly as I've met Christians who don't believe that healing through the power of God is possible. It was uplifting to read about Amish people having faith in this.

There's not much more that I can say without giving away too many details, but I was very satisfied with the fourth book in the Abram's Daughters series and can't wait to read the final installment! There are still several issues to be resolved and I've no idea what will happen when they come out into the open. Thankfully I have #5 at my parents' house so will get to read it sometime this month. Unlike some other Amish series, this isn't one that you can read out of order or with huge gaps between the books. There's always so much going on in a Beverly Lewis novel and you'll definitely need to find out what happens next. While many new authors of Amish fiction have emerged over the last few years, Beverly Lewis still stands out as one of the best authors in this genre. 10/10

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Collector - John Fowles

Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she is understand her captor, and so gain her freedom.

This isn't a book that I would say that I "liked" as, after all, it is about a man who kidnaps a woman and holds her prisoner in his basement. But it was incredibly compelling and I really felt that the author got inside Frederick's head. I found this book incredibly interesting to read in light of all the kidnapping/abduction stories that have been cropping up over the past few years. Despite being published in the 1960s, I doubt the mind of a kidnapper has changed very much since then. Fowles is either a very creative or very disturbed man to have been able to write from Frederick's perspective as I wouldn't have doubted for a moment that the protagonist was capable of such acts. As for Miranda, I was surprised by how unsympathetic I felt towards her initially. She was incredibly pretentious and, despite what she expressed in her diary, rather stuck-up. She was so focused on not being middle-class and suburban that her actions caused her to cement herself into this class of people! I wasn't too interested in her back-story to begin with but it grew on me, and by the end of her section I was hoping that events wouldn't take such a tragic turn... But the ending is inevitable, I suppose. I didn't expect it, but thinking about it, there really was no other option. And there was a nice twist at the end - or was that obvious too? Overall, a fascinating study of human nature. My only complaints would be that Miranda was hard to relate to and therefore I found it difficult to care about her plight, and that I actually had nightmares the night after I started reading this! So perhaps not for people who are overly sensitive. 8/10