Monday, May 31, 2010
About the book:
After 20 years in the Federal Witness Protection Program (WITSEC) and eight aliases, Melody Grace McCartney hardly knows who she is. On the run since she and her parents stumbled on a gruesome murder by mobster Tony Bovaro when she was six years old, Grace saw WITSEC’s promised protection fail her mother and father when they were killed 12 years later. Now she feigns personal danger to be relocated just because she’s bored and wants a change. But before her new case officer can move her from suburban Maryland to rural Wisconsin, Tony’s son, Jonathan, tracks her down to present an alternative: protection from his family and a life of more safety and freedom than she has ever known. While federal officials pressure her to stay in WITSEC and show her Jonathan’s violent side, her attraction to him grows, and she must decide a course for the rest of her life.
This was a powerful story. I usually read Christian fiction, but was sent this book to review, so I gave it a try. Unlike many of the books I have mailed to me, I actually finished this one and enjoyed it immensely. The story was amazing and very unique. The characters were believable and the passion moving the story forward was breathtaking.
It was so hard to know who the good guy in the story was for the first two thirds of the book. The author strung you along with a sense of dread as this woman was being hunted because of the mob. Yet at the same time she had no life, no identity (because it kept changing) and no stability. She never felt safe even with the men who were paid to protect her. She learned to trust someone who had followed her life for years and showed up to help because he knew about her and said he cared. Though the Federal marshals were very unhappy about her choice to spend time with him, they didn't interfere. Unfortunately, meeting with them that one last time caused her life to spiral out of control and she lost the hope that she had found.
I was crying through the last portion of the book. I hurt for her. I understood her pain and the sacrifice that was made on her behalf. It was like reading an emotionally charged Nicholas Sparks novel, only better. And the ending was bittersweet, yet satisfying. The author did an amazing job with the story and captured my heart, and even though there was no outward spiritual element to this story, the themes of forgiveness, repentance, pure love, and self-sacrifice were strong enough to move my heart.
The best part was this book was not riddled with swearing and vulgarity. It had some necessary dialog on occasion and some violence, but nothing that overpowered the beauty and message of true love in this book. Love does not demand it's own way. Love always gives, always hopes, always protects. Ahhh...this was a great love story. There are decent books in the ABA, and this is one of them.
The Girl She Used to Be was published by Grand Central Publishing and released in March 2009. A copy of this book was provided to me for review by the Hachette Book Group. I was not compensated in any way for this review.