3 out of 4 stars
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Carol Soloway weaves together a dramatic tale of romance, estranged family dynamics, and abduction in her book entitled Gracie’s Gone. Family secrets come to light after six-year-old Gracie is kidnapped at the mall. The story is told from the perspective of Gracie’s stepmother, Alexandra Rose. Determined to harmonize her and her husband’s families, Alexandra tries to juggle motherhood, her career, and her own issues related to her last marriage. Meanwhile, a sinister mystery cloaks the truth surrounding the death of her husband’s late wife. Gracie’s kidnapping unravels the fabric of familial stability that Alexandra has painstakingly tried to create. Lies, betrayal, and unpleasant family surprises arise as the motives behind Gracie’s kidnapping becomes clear.
What I liked most about this book was the unpredictability of the story. From the beginning, it contained subtle yet sinister undertones. Many insignificant details concealed deeper meanings. These clues kept me interested because I was constantly trying to figure out how they were all connected. Furthermore, my suspicions as to who kidnapped Gracie were always being challenged. In the end, I was as surprised as Alexandra when the truth was revealed. The family secrets surrounding Gracie’s mother were also astounding. I was impressed that the author wrote such a captivating story.
Another thing which I liked was that the characters each had distinct features. For instance, Gracie was portrayed as an opinionated child whose favorite toy was a stuffed chicken. Alexandra’s friend, Meredith, really stood out in the book because she loved to flaunt her beauty and possessions. Expressive traits such as these greatly enhanced the individuality of the characters and made them more realistic.
What I enjoyed the least was the avalanche of information that was unleashed at the end of the story. The majority of the book was about Gracie’s family, but another character in the book had a side-story that seemed to overwhelm the main story right at the very end. I felt as if the author rushed the real ending of the book and added another tragic event which was completely unnecessary.
I also disliked the numerous associations and agencies that were included in the book. The book mentioned NCMEC, ERASE Child Trafficking Organization, Child Rescue, The Child Abduction Response Team, The FBI, SEALS, and Bikers Against Child Abuse. I got the feeling that they were probably only included in the book to increase publicity. In my opinion, including only a couple of these would have been more useful to the story’s development.
In conclusion, the story was riveting, unpredictable, and the characters were portrayed realistically. However, I did not like the rushed ending and the inclusion of so many agencies and associations. For these reasons, I am rating Gracie’s Gone 3 out of 4 stars. I think the book was edited professionally. There were only a couple of minor errors in the book. These did not ruin my reading experience. One was an unnecessary preposition and the other was a minor issue regarding the inconsistency of the font size in a paragraph. Adult readers who like drama and suspense will enjoy this story. However, I would not recommend this book to people who don’t like reading about intense themes like death, violence, child trafficking, and abduction.
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