Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Emilie Richards - Somewhere Between Luck and Trust

Where luck meets trust, miracles can happen Christy Haviland served eight months in prison, giving birth behind bars to the child of the man who put her there and might yet destroy her. Now she's free again, but what does that mean? As smart as she is, a learning disability has kept her from learning to read. And that's the least of her hurdles. 
Georgia Ferguson, talented educator, receives a mysterious charm bracelet that may help her find the mother who abandoned her at birth. Does she want to follow the clues, and if she does, can reticent Georgia reach out for help along the way? 
Both women are standing at a crossroads, a place where unlikely unions can be formed. A place where two very different women might bridge the gap between generations and education, and together make tough choices. Somewhere between the townships called Luck and Trust, at a mountain cabin known as the Goddess House, two very different women may even, if they dare, find common ground and friendship.

Comment: This is the second installment in the Goddesses Anonymous series by author Emilie Richards. I've read the first one last year and while it was a good read, I found it a bit too slow. Thankfully, this one had a more appealing theme to me and I just didn't give it a higher grade because I keep thinking that, even though this isn't meant to be a romance, there still could be enough of it to enhance everything.

In this second book we find some of the goddesses again and this time the focus is on helping Christy Haviland. She has been in prison for eight months and as this book starts, she is on her last day, about to be released. Samantha, a character we've met in the previous book, has given classes in prison and that is how she found Christy as a good candidate to be helped by the goddesses. Christy only wants to move forward, forget she was in prison unfairly and to ponder what to do, since she had a baby while there. That baby now lives with Christy's cousin and Christy can't help but seeing the baby's father in him, something she tries hard to do, as it was the baby's father who made it for her to be sent to prison. While Christy deals with her new situation, other characters come to play an important role in her life, especially Georgia, who will help Christy get past her dyslexia...

From the start, I was invested in Christy as a character and in her path towards achieving a new, better life. Christy went to prison for something she didn't do and while it was a minor infraction (accused of stealing a diamond ring), this left marks on her, especially considering how her parents reacted and how they had always treated her in her childhood and youth. Christy is dyslexic and  not diagnosed which means her parents saw her as lazy and lacking interest and Christy only finished mandatory school with coping mechanisms which hid her difficulties.

Added to this, she had the misfortune of falling to a manipulative's man charms leading her to prison and to having a baby she can't take care of. However, someone helped and as the name says, goddesses allowed her to have a place to stay while she thought about what to do next. I was really captivated by Christy's path and how slowly she tries to get herself on a steady road. Things weren't easy but Christy is a likable character, obviously wary and reserved but I was interested in seeing what would she do next.

I think that, despite the focus being on this character, we still have plenty of POVs and elements surrounding other characters to feel this sense of community, of how much better something is if we feel someone is behind us helping or supporting our steps. I liked how cozy and heartwarming most scenes and chapters were, in the sense that the "bad guy" was Christy's ex and not because he was violent but mostly because he is an obstacle which prevents her from moving on, until she learns she has enough friends to be able to feel confident in doing so anyway, as well as her own self worth to know she can.

I liked all the characters we follow here. I can't say if that was the biggest reason why I liked this book better than the first one, but it's a fact I was a lot more invested in what happened with these people than in how the ones in the first book were presented. I suppose the writing has something to do with it too, and this time the story was more interesting and vibrant to read, opposed to the first one, which felt a bit too slow and, by comparison, certainly a little more boring.

However, despite these books not being labeled romances, there are enough romantic elements which provoked me, I feel, and I wish more of it had happened. I wouldn't say turn this into a romance novel, but put more emphasis on it, especially closer to the end or to the path leading into it. I got the feeling this was too easy or too much in the open, a sort of HFN when I wanted a more definitive HEA. I guess the next book might give me some information/closure on this, especially if some names - if not the actual characters - will keep on being mentioned in regards to the next protagonists' tales. These books have the "family" and "community" vibes quite well done, after all.

When things get to the end, there was another situation which was dealt in a very mature way, but certainly not the most traditional, and that allow food for thought. Christy's case with the law and why she went to prison also had a new twist, and I was glad she saw her name being cleared. She also got to trust her own abilities more and I liked the part where so much attention was given to the notion not everyone learns at the same pace or the same way.

All in all, this was charming for me, it was easy and compelling to read, as if one is spending the time with people we care about, chatting for a while... I will now have to read the next book too, some day, and hopefully it will be similar to this one in style and tone.
Grade: 8/10

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