Kelli Hutchinson grew up being loved by her father and her stepmother, believing her mother, brother and sister had been killed in a fire in Louisiana. After a car accident, Kelli is left alone to figure out her way in the world. Because of the debts her father left, she has had to sell his house and now she has to clean it out. When she opens the safe, she finds some manilla envelopes containing newspaper articles and pictures of a totally different life. Kelli's father had staged his and her deaths when she was still a baby and moved to California. Now Kelli wants to know who she really is, and this is what Finding Me is all about.
Kathryn Cushman has written a book that would tear at any mother's heartstrings. To lose a child is grief beyond all comprehension.
I think I am going to hit the shortcomings first, and get them out of the way: (caveat: These are my OPINIONS)
a. There is a definite lack of anger when Alison finds out her Darcy is the girl who has come to town going by Kelli. To find out your husband hasn't been dead all these years, and that he had the daughter you also believed to be dead all this time, some anger has to bubble up. To find out this girl you've befriended has been hiding significant secrets from you should cause a bit of anger too, but neither of these situations even dredge up an "Oh, drat" between them.
b. There are a few key characters who seem to be shallow in development.
That really is it for the shortcomings of the book.
Here are the strengths:
a. There are too many kidnappings by non-custodial parents to think this couldn't happen. It could. Kathryn has written an extremely believable story around this particular situation.
b. Her characters add so much more to the plot--and they make you want to root for them. They are likable, relatable, and empathetic.
c. There are several conflicts going on in the book--Kelli's spiritual conflict--and lack of understanding about it, the whole finding the family conflict, the Shane and Kelli conflict, and the Kenmore and Shane conflict. Most of these reach a reasonably satisfying conclusion.
d. The book is hard to put down. The plot's pace keeps the reader engaged from front cover to back cover and every page in between. Can't get much better than that.
Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a manilla envelope of memories--good ones.
My thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.