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Sunday, July 8, 2012

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf (Book Review)

Title: One Breath Away
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: MIRA/Harlequin


About the Book: In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom.  Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.


Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands.  Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again.  Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care.  And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.


As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.


My thoughts: I liked the premise of this story and the way that it was told from five different points of view.  The narrators all came from different walks of life and are at different stages of life.  


Meg is a police officer with a child who attends Broken Branch school in Iowa.  On this day, however, her child is with her father for an early start to spring break. Even so, she feels close ties to the children still left inside.  


Will has two grandchildren at the school - grandchildren he just met for the first time weeks earlier.  He had an instant connection to P.J., and they have become very close.  However, P.J.'s sister Augie is a hard nut to crack.  She is much like her mother and Will has a hard time relating to her, in much the same way as his relationship with her mother, his daughter Holly, suffered.  


Augie has not given her grandpa much to work with though.  She grew up hearing her mother complain about her life on the farm and was prejudiced against him before she ever met him.  She would do anything for P.J. though and refuses to leave the school without him.


Holly is in a hospital bed thousands of miles away in Arizona.  She is suffering from burns that cover her hands, arms and part of her head.  Her mother and father flew out and it was the first time she had spoken to them in fifteen years. Her mother has stayed to take care of her and her father has flown home with her children. 


Mrs. Oliver is the third grade teacher whose class the gunman has entered.  It is through her that we learn what we can about the gunman and his motives.  She does her best to keep her class from harm, one of which is P.J.


These five narrators begin to paint a picture of Broken Branch and it's people.  The secrets that we choose not to see, the ones that we do.  Those that we are quick to blame when something goes wrong. I liked the way that secrets were revealed and tension was built.  Unfortunately I had figured out who the gunman was early on, just didn't have a clue to what his motive was.  


~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Media Muscle in exchange for my review.~


DON"T FORGET TO CHECK OUT MY GIVEAWAY FOR A COPY OF THIS BOOK THAT ENDS ON JULY 16.


One Breath Away
Publisher/Publication Date: MIRA, July 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1365-6
384 pages

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I like a story told from different perspectives too. Did you eventually learn the motive?

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