Friday, June 13, 2014

Before I Wake by C.L. Taylor

Release Date: June 1, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Sue Jackson's world was turned upside down the moment her fifteen year-old daughter, Charlotte, walked in front of bus. In a desparate attempt to understand the reason behind the accident, she searched her daughter's room and soon realized Charlotte carried a secret so powerful it drove her into her current comatose state. Sue knew the truth would help her daughter. There wasn't anything that she wouldn't do to bring her baby back to health.

As she delved deeper into the darkness of her daughter's secrets, flashes of her own past threatened to engulf Sue. She saw danger hidden within the shadows all around, mysterious gifts began arriving that only she would understand and no one believed the stress and previous mental issues weren't playing a part in her present behavior. Can Sue discover the well-hidden secret before it's too late for Charlotte? Will she be able to do so before she loses herself?

This title intrigued me from the moment I read the description at NetGalley. How in the world could a secret be so awful that it would drive a young teen to walk into the path of a bus rather than go to someone for help? I also wondered why the mother would be so worried about her past being a reason for her daughter's despair. It was clear from the very first chapter that there were much deeper issues within the lives of the Jackson family. The past and present collided as Sue tried her best to discover the truth and created a reality so terrifying that no one imagined the outcome.

From the first paragraph, I was immersed into the life of Sue and Brian as they try to understand their current situation. While Brian refused to see anything other than an unfortunate accident to blame, Sue feared a more dangerous enemy was lurking within the shadows. Not very many people were privy to the horror she faced in a previous relationship. Therefore, they didn't understand the level of worry and paranoia that coursed through her at times. Mixed into this state of mind a high level of stress were obligations and the overwhelming need to know the truth behind the accident. Any one of the above were enough to cause Sue to doubt herself at many points in the story.

The author did an excellent job of depicting how very easy it can be to slip into an abusive relationship as well as how difficult it can be to break free. I could almost feel the lingering touches of the trauma within everything that Sue did. Not only was Sue a wonderful depiction of a survivor, her determination to fight for her child against all odds showed how strong she'd become. The other characters in the story were realistic to me and added their own layers of confusion and revelation whenever they appeared. I became frustrated at a few points because I knew some of them were holding back information vital to Sue's quest for truth.

All in all, this was a story that stayed with me for quite a while after I finished the book. The pacing of the book was such that once I began, there was no stopping until everything was out in the open. Just when I believed I knew what was coming, the author shifted gears and wandered down another avenue that I hadn't considered. I will say that some of the scenes within Sue's diary were graphic and hard to read as they did describe abusive situations. If you're wanting an real thrill ride of a book that won't let you sleep until it's over, then this is your book!

Before I Wake by C.L. Taylor is available at retailers in paperback or Kindle formats. By clicking the link below, you can purchase a copy from Amazon.
Before I Wake by C.L. Taylor

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