Brandilyn Collins. StoneWater, $14.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-9969611-7-2
When Cara Westling’s abusive husband leaves her, she starts looking for a fresh start for herself and her teenage daughter Riley. After landing a job in the small town of Payton, Idaho, Cara believes she has found her new beginning. But 13-year-old Riley is the target of taunts and ridicule at school, and, only one week into her new job, Cara’s boss, well-respected financial advisor J.L. Larrett, ends up with a dead body in his office and makes Cara his unwilling accomplice in hiding it. To complicate matters, J.L. pays for Riley to attend the exclusive private school his own daughter attends as a way to keep Cara in his good graces. While being friends with Morgan, J.L.’s daughter, one of the school’s most popular girls seems to solve Riley’s social problems, Morgan is as cunning as her father, and Riley ends up being her scapegoat when things go wrong at a student party. Though Cara’s complacent acquiescence to J.L.’s demands makes her a less-than-sympathetic character, the believable social situations and fast-paced plotting by Collins (Vain Empires) make this an engaging family drama. Cara finally grows a backbone in the 11th hour, but the ending is a bit too happily ever-after to be truly inspirational. Agent: The Steve Laube Agency (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/10/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
Library Binding - 436 pages - 978-1-4328-4550-6
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