Friday, July 29, 2016

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

This is my first Laura McNeill read, and I was not disappointed. She kept me on the edge of my seat, not wanting to put it down, suspensefully awaiting the "who-done-it" revelation. There were two main characters that appeared guilty, one from the get-go and one revealed slowly; but the battle to discovery was back and forth between them the entire time. I couldn't make up my mind for sure on the guilty party.

This psychopathic thriller unfolds as Allison Marshal is released from prison after ten years of paying for a crime she did not commit. Her goal, to find out who did, prove herself innocent and win her daughter's affection. Her only ally and friend, her sister Emma, who has been raising Allie's daughter, and is the only one who ever came to see her these past ten years. Allie was always the smart one, who had everything together, and was headed for a successful life, career, marriage. Her dreams have all been
suppressed, and she is now starting again from square one.

People in town are none too excited that she is back. Especially not when old memories are dredged up again, and things that should be left in the past, don't seem to want to stay there. The truth usually comes out, and that fact has some people scared and acting hasty. Forging through her daughter's rejection of her, fighting to acquire a job, and winning the trust of those she loves again becomes a challenge for Allie - one she will not easily achieve. But Allie has never been a quitter, and those who want her out of town, might as well BEWARE, she is not leaving any time soon.

I enjoyed Laura's writing in spite of a few choice words, and a couple of "steamy" scenes. I wouldn't recommend this to a younger audience, though, since the book contains some violence, drug use, and other happenings more suitable to older readers. But overall it will capture the readers attention, and draw you in emotionally as you engage with the characters. As far as being published by a Christian publishing company, I did not feel that it had much of a message to convey in regards to faith. Allie seemed to be pretty much an independent, successful woman of her own making. There may have been a mention or two of faith and morals, but she didn't seem to rely much on God for her strength and achievements, or direction in her life.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers and the Fiction Guild Team in exchange for my honest opinion. Writing a positive review was not required.

This book is available on Amazon and other retailers

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.
After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. 

Laura's debut domestic suspense novel, Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Alabama, was published in July of 2015. Her latest domestic suspense novel, Sister Dear, was released April 2016.

She holds a master's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and is currently pursuing her PhD in Instructional Leadership from the University of Alabama. She now lives in North Alabama.

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