4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Double Redemption: The Story of Mike and Emma by Francis Gene Collins is a heart-stopping romance novel that follows Michael J. Michaels and Emma Randelli, two people who had to endure traumatic experiences while growing up. They do not know about their similarities experience-wise, as they both meet when Michael helps Emma when she is stranded. There is a spark after their first encounter, as Michael is intrigued by her personality while Emma is fascinated as to how Michael, who she believes is a mechanic, displays attributes that are completely opposite of her stereotypical image of a mechanic. There must be more to this man. From here on out, we join them on their exhilarating journey towards self-discovery and trying to learn more about each other, but there are obstacles revolving around the fear of reopening old wounds and showing their unattractive sides.
Firstly, this was a fantastic read for me. From the book's description, it felt like I had already read similar storylines before, and I wondered what would make this one special. However, the special characters in this story make it stand out. The story is told from the first-person perspective that switches between Michael and Emma. While we follow their story from when they met, we are also gradually introduced to their younger days as children so that we get to relate with them better.
We see Emma struggle with blaming herself for losses in her family and is convinced that she deserves to be punished in some way, which led her into an abusive marriage. Similarly, Michael hates himself for the choices he made while serving in the army after enduring bullying for years and the loss of his only childhood friend, Junie. I was drawn to both characters, but their attributes did not improve the odds that they could start a relationship, let alone sustain one. This aspect of the book created a lot of suspense that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Furthermore, Francis Gene Collins was able to perfectly capture the characters' emotions throughout the story, and this was one of the most important features for me. Amidst the losses, painful situations, discoveries, sufferings, and victories covered in this story, the author's descriptive writing shone through to help me feel what the characters felt in every moment. The perspective employed played a key role here as well. Also, I found just two errors while reading, which gave me the impression that the book was professionally edited.
On a negative note, I have just two minor issues with the book. Firstly, considering that the story explores different times in the main characters' lives, I would have appreciated the inclusion of dates at the beginning of each chapter to avoid any confusion about the period being narrated. Secondly, there were times when the characters narrated events that had already been discussed when updating their friends about their situations. It felt like an unnecessary repetition and made the story longer than it should have been. Nevertheless, those friendships formed throughout the story would be of utmost significance, and readers should look out for that as well.
The major genre explored here was romance, but the book also felt like a mystery novel at times, especially with the author's ability to withhold important information long enough to keep you interested and guessing and the major twist that completely blindsided me at the end. The ending was completely satisfying for me. Even though I discussed a couple of issues above, I strongly believe that the book deserves the maximum rating of four out of four stars. A solid character and plot development and the story's relatability convinced me of this rating. Readers who enjoy romance novels will fall in love with this book.
Double Redemption: the Story of Mike and Emma
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon