Friday, May 30, 2014

Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman

Release Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Liz Daniels knew her family as well as she knew the farm she worked every day to provide for their homegrown company, Roots. Living a wholesome life in a preservative-laced world wasn't easy, but she and her husband, Paul, made it work. When he suggested a family vacation to visit his parents in a city miles away from their home, Liz thought the idea odd but went along with him wishes anyway.

Before she knew it, her world was torn upside. Her worst fears came alive and taunted her every second of every day. Nowhere to turn, Liz grasped at small clues and looked for the one thing that would make all the pieces fall into place. The moment the big picture became clear, she realized that was up against something much bigger than even she expected. Can she recover what had been taken from her? What will she sacrifice to get it?

Offered by NetGalley, I requested this book because I thought the synopsis on the description page intriguing. I have always thought that losing one's children, in any fashion, was a parent's worst nightmare. However, I was drawn in by the lengths in which the main character, Liz, went through in order to find out the answers to why her children where taken and where they were hidden.

There was a great deal of tension in the atmosphere of the book from the very beginning. Liz's family rarely left the safety of their home in the mountains for a myriad of reasons. The weight of uncertainty and worry mixed with a series of events created an even greater level of paranoia and uneasiness within Liz. For me, this related well with the age-old theory that a mother knows when something isn't right. Even at a base level, there were signals that something sinister lurked around the darkened corners. As I delved deeper into the book, it was quite clear that Liz wasn't the only mother being put to the test. Others were wading through their own situations and clearly felt they were in over their heads.

Liz was one of a few well-defined characters in this story. Because of a jarring incident near the beginning of the book, the pacing felt frantic to me at times and left little time to really get to know a lot about some of the fringe characters. The reader was set up to be alongside Liz as she uncovered the truth behind her husband and a few of her closest friends. As a result, the story seemed to bounce from one place to another. There were a few moments when I really didn't understand the necessity of certain scenes or what they really brought to the story. One that stood out the most was an intimate moment between Liz and another character that seemed somewhat out of place. Although I can understand the notion that people do weird things in an overwhelming moment of crisis, the scene didn't advance the story at all or helped to clarify anything. It felt as though it was there as a filler.

Overall, the story was a good one and highlighted the determination and perseverance a parent, especially a mother, can have when faced with such a frightening situation. Though I expected a show-down at the end of the book, the one that took place wasn't really the one I had thought would happen. At least, the people involved with it weren't the ones I had picked. It was good to see Liz come into her own and gain a sense of confidence throughout the process even as I wished for a different resolution. If you're looking for a who-done-it with a brisk pace and can face the situation a parent never wants to happen, then this is the book you're looking for.

Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman is available at many online retailers. It can be purchased in a variety of forms including hardcover, Kindle and audio-book. Pick up a copy today by clicking the link below.
Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman

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