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Friday, July 20, 2007

Review: The Broken Path

By guest reviewer Michelle Oberlander

The Broken Path
by Cami Checketts

Involved in a debilitating accident at age six, Ethan Searle believes women eye him with a mixture of pity and disdain. He's tried love before. He won't again.
Autumn Reader escaped her abusive marriage with her daughter, a stack of debt, and fear. Autumn's precocious two-year old becomes enraptured by Ethan. Autumn is on the path to following her daughter's example when her ex-husband reappears.

The first thing that catches your eye is the cover. I found it pleasing to the eye, especially the shadow that haunts the picturesque path. After reading the story, I looked at it again to see if it fit with the title and story. I say, "Definitely!" The cover invokes many meanings from my memories of the story. Clever.

The Broken Path introduces Autumn, a single mom who escaped a really bad scene of a first marriage. She's gone back to her home town to finish healing and begin living again. Because of her ex-husband, she has huge trust issues about men. The best thing that came from her nightmare of a marriage is Brittan, her daughter.

Cami has written the cutest character in Brittan. What a charmer. If I were to meet this little girl in real life, I'd want to hug her to pieces and spoil her rotten. You know that old phrase "Oh! The things kids say!"? Well, Cami has Brittan doing and saying some pretty interesting things that cracked this reader up and embarrassed the dickens out of her mom. The childish mispronunciations Cami has Brittan sharing with the handsome Ethan, whom she calls, "Effan", are endearing and so spot on, it's a joy to read.

Speaking of Ethan, the hero and love interest - he was interesting. I've read many stories where the main character has a scar or two and it causes them angst, but Ethan has some serious issues. Cami wrote his character like she must have known someone who had that kind of disability. The challenges, self-doubts and emotional pain ring very true. And yet, he finds the strength in and through his faith to survive.

Ethan and Autumn’s faith is a thread woven all the way through The Broken Path. It's pivotal in one scene in particular that had me sitting at the edge of my chair as I read.

As for the romance, Ethan's pursuit of Autumn and Autumn's pursuit of Ethan was like ... well, let's say their pursuit of each other was like watching someone drive a standard shift for the first time: forward motion in spits and spurts, lurching and stalling. Each of them thinks only of their individual faults. Because of this, they constantly jump to the wrong conclusions in their discussions. They are very human -- too easy to understand and, at times, very frustrating-- so by the time they finally get their true feelings out in the open, this reader was jumping for joy. Yes! I was so happy for them. Time for some lovin'. Psst. Ethan's a good kisser.

But watch out. Their happiness and faith get tested. A very believable outside conflict gets thrown their way.

Did I mention that Autumn's mom, Nancy, has the hots for the local plumber, Jacob? That's a cute little romantic sub-story, too.

All in all, The Broken Path is one you'll enjoy traveling because the HEA is emotionally satisfying and all the familial loose ends get tied up thanks to a little angel. How sweet it is!