Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review: "Saving Madeline" by Rachel Ann Nunes

By Nichole Giles

**Leave a comment on this blog and be entered into a drawing to win a copy of Saving Madeline. When I first learned that Rachel Ann Nunes was doing a virtual book tour, I put my hand in the air, and jumped up and down yelling, “Me, me, me, pick me!” After all, Rachel’s books are all excellent, wonderful reads, and I knew in a blink that Saving Madeline was a must read book. A minute or so later, I realized Rachel couldn’t hear or see me jumping up and down like an idiot, so I’d need to reply to her over Facebook or email to let her know I was interested.

How excited I was to get my electronic copy. The funny thing is that I intended to upload the book onto my iPhone so I could take it with me when I didn’t have my computer. But…I didn’t end up needing to. I read it so fast, there were only one or two times I wished I’d remembered to do that. Mostly, I’d come home from taxiing my kids, and rush to the computer to read more. Yeah, it was that good. (And all thoughts of me working on my own writing flew out the window during that time. No way could I concentrate on another story when I was so into this one.)

Here’s the blurb:

As a public defender, Caitlin McLoughlin dreams of someday locking the bad guys in prison instead of defending them. But prosecuting jobs are scarce, and Caitlin’s future seems bleak. When her current client is about to walk away from a brutal crime, she risks her career to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Yet what if her choice means sacrificing her career and the means to care for her mentally disabled sister? Then Caitlin meets Parker Hathaway, charged with kidnapping four-year-old Madeline. Just another criminal, another job, Caitlin thinks.

But Parker tells a far different story. Can Caitlin believe him, as her heart urges? Is she willing to put everything on the line to defend her client—a man who claims to be protecting the child he loves? Or is her trust better placed in the handsome deputy district attorney with his undefeated record in court? Caitlin’s pursuit of the truth swiftly thrusts her into a maze of unanswered questions and unexpected heartache.

Meanwhile, time is running out for Madeline. If Caitlin doesn't find the proof she is looking for soon, there may not be a future for any of them.

This story hit close to home for me. My husband’s job makes it difficult for me to ignore the stark reality of the world some people live in, and the choices they make. It’s even more difficult to know that this same type of reality exists for people I know and love.

So as the story unfolded, I found myself wondering time and again how I would handle this situation, or that situation, or what I would do in a certain position. For instance, in Caitlin’s circumstances with the guilty criminal, would I risk everything to see him punished? And what about her responsibilities for her sister? Or in Parker’s position, would I give up everything—including the possibility of love—to save my child from danger? Even if my choices could possibly land me in jail?

The truth is, this story may be fiction, but it deals with real-life issues for which the answers are never black and white, but instead, several different shades of gray. I love that about this book. I love a story that makes me think, makes me wonder, and evokes such powerful emotions in me that in the end I want to rejoice and cry at the same time.

And I especially love that even though I finished it two weeks ago, I still catch myself thinking about it. If you’re looking for a compelling, heart-wrenching, make-you-think love story, this one’s a must read.

I had the opportunity to visit a little bit with Rachel yesterday. She’s such an outgoing lady, and I was glad to get to ask the serious questions about the most important things in a writer’s life. She has very graciously allowed me to share that discussion here:

NG: Hey Rachel. Thanks for agreeing to chat with me today. I’m sure everyone asks you this, but it’s one of those all-important bits of information that we all really need to know. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Today, my new favorite is Ben and Jerry’s Key Lime Pie.

RAN: I like Caramel Caribou and Moose Tracks by Western Family. (Hey, I have six kids, including a missionary son and a daughter in college, so I have to budget wisely!)

NG: Hey, Western Family is a favorite at my house, too. Moose Tracks is high on everyone’s list, I think. (And definitely good on the budget.) So, now that I know the answer to the ice cream question, I have to ask. Who’s your favorite author? (Besides yourself or me, since everyone already knows we’re both awesome.)

RAN: I have so many. I mean, I read in so many genres. And then it seems like just when I recommend an author, they go and write something embarrassing so I'm eating my words. But I'll go out on a limb and say that I love some of the books by Anna Quindlen, Barabara Kingsolver, Kat Richardson, Brandon Sanderson, Alice Hoffman, Suzanne Collins, and many more. I adore reading, though, and I read quite widely in everything from children's fantasy and romance to urban fantasy and literary novels.

NG: See? That’s so like me. I read about everything I can get my hands on (well, you know, within reason. Phonebooks aren’t such a fun read). But besides reading, what’s your most favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?

RAN: I like swimming with my kids, spending time with my husband, reading, watching sci-fi series, walking, hiking, biking, and sleeping.

NG: Nice. Lots of exercise in there for us sit-at-the-computer-and-write-types. Good for you, I say! But it makes me wonder. You like swimming and walking, hiking, biking…so, if you were an animal, what kind would you be and why?

RAN: Probably some kind of bird. I've always been fascinated with flying. But I draw the line at killing mice or eating worms so maybe that wouldn't work out. Yuck! Have you ever thought about what might be inside the stomach of a mouse?

NG: Ew, ew, no. That is not a good picture at all. Neither of those two things sounds very appetizing to me, which is probably why I’d be a dolphin. Fish are safe for me—I like seafood. Not so much oysters, except for what you can find inside them. Speaking of which…Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?

RAN: Diamonds. Because I could always sell one and buy some pearls, too. :-)

NG: Good point. I’m going to remember that one. Sparkly and shimmery. A little bit of both goes a long way, right?

NG: Okay, one last question for all us writers looking to write the next brilliant novel. How about naming one or two power snacks that keep you going as you write.

RAN: Kirkland Weight Loss Shakes from Costco are a mainstay. I keep them in my office to snack on because I'm mostly too lazy to get up and make breakfast or lunch. It's a terrible habit, but it keeps me alive. When I do get up, I like fruits and vegetables. I don't like eating chocolate at the computer, though. As my website says, I love chocolate (Dove or Utah's Milk Chocolate Truffles) and writing so my family might never see me again. Not to mention that I'd have to buy all new clothes.

NG: Well, I can see how that might be a chore. Not to mention the time it would take away from your writing. Weight loss shakes sound like a great idea, though, and quite a time saver.

(Looks at watch.)

NG: Oh drat. We’re out of time. Could’ve used a few of those weight loss shakes today myself, since the day seems to go by much too quickly. Rachel, thanks so much for visiting with me and letting us have a glimpse into all of the most important aspects of an author’s life. See you at the next Storymakers conference.

To read more about Rachel Ann Nunes and her journey in writing this book, click here.

To purchase your copy of Saving Madeline click here.


Cindy Beck, author said...

Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the review!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

I think this books sounds awesome! Thanks for the review, Nichole!

Becki said...

Sounds so great!!! Awesome review!!

Wendy said...

I'm excited to read this book! Thanks

Suze said...

I hope I win!!!

Lady Araujo said...

Sounds very good. I'd love to entered in your drawing.


James Wynder said...

I don't usually read romance/women's novels but my daughters gave me "Flying Home" for Christmas last year. I couldn't put it down until I finished it. "Saving Madeline" sounds like another book I won't be able to put down until the last page is read. Can't wait!

nightowlmommy said...

I absolutely love the books written by Rachel Ann Nunes. She is an awesome author. I would LOVE to win a free copy of this new book, Saving Madeline.

Smile It's Yummy! said...

Great review! Makes me anxious to read this book!

If I win, send me a tweet @sarahbelleisk