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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

✍ Center of Gravity - Laura McNeill

Genre: Suspense Women's Fiction
Published by Thomas Nelson
Number of pages: 318
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ It was memorable  
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Review | Synopsis | Teaser | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


"The truth could cost her everything.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true.

In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It's temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem."

"Center of Gravity" is the poignant and suspenseful tale from Laura McNeill.

The novel starts with very emotional scene as a distraught mother, Ava, is trying to get to her children who have been taken away from her.  The narration is particularly strong as it is told in the first person, from Ava's point of view, in the present tense.

The storyline then shifts one month earlier, and this time our narrator is Jack, Ava's adopted son (see our teaser excerpt).   Laura McNeill unfolds Ava's story for us from the points of view of the characters who are involved (Ava, her husband Mitchell, their son Jack, attorney Graham and social worker Lucy ...). All in the first person, present tense narration.  The timeline of the narrative picks up from where the last character left off and there do not seem to be any overlaps or sudden time lapses.

Center of Gravity is a compelling and gripping read, with a sense of anticipation and unravelling that builds to a crescendo, as truths come to light and the story reaches its climax.  Laura McNeill's writing is flawless, her characters are beautifully and powerfully developed, and the events described are painfully realistic, with all of the emotions associated with them, and we experience them first hand from the point of view of each protagonist.  My only criticism is that I felt that Graham was not explored as fully as I would have liked, and at one point he just seemed to disappear.

Mitchell is the pivotal character in this story, as his behaviour and manipulative actions have a deep effect on everyone around him.   Is Mitchell just a monster or is there more to it?  You will have to find out for yourselves - the answers are there, and again the author excelled in her presentation of this character and his motivations.  I just feel that she described perfectly something a little bit different to what is referred to in the book, but I am truly splitting hairs.

I really cannot say any more without giving spoilers away.  Before you pick up this book be aware that it is a very strong and emotionally draining read, you will feel what the characters feel.   This is a fast read, but not a light one.  Make sure you have a few hours on your hands as you will not want to put this down.

[ARC received via Netgalley]

About the Author

After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family.  Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

Laura works at Spring Hill College as the school’s web content and social media manager and is active in her community—participating in fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and Providence Hospital’s Festival of Flowers.

Laura was recently awarded a 2-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing, a division of HarperCollins. Her novel, Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Ala., was published in July of 2015.

Laura is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein, president of McIntosh and Otis literary agency in New York.  Her writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Writer’s Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer competition.  She holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.  She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama.

She is a native of Upstate New York and currently resides near the Alabama Gulf Coast with her two children.

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3 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed the excerpt! This sounds like an intense book! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much! Can't wait for the full review!!

    ReplyDelete