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Monday, June 14, 2010

Meander Scar by Lisa J. Lickel

Meander Scar by Lisa J. Lickel
Publisher: Black Lyon Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full (222 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Love can heal even the deepest scars …

After seven years with no clue as to the whereabouts of Ann Ballard’s missing husband, nearly everyone presumes him dead. Now forty-something, Ann is ready for her stagnant life to flow again. Then one day, a dark-haired younger man from her past shows up on her doorstep offering a river of hope in place of tears.

Former neighbor Mark Roth has secretly loved Ann for years. A respected attorney, he’s returned home to help Ann face down disapproving family members and the legal maneuvering of her likely deceased husband’s family—while quietly winning her heart.

When the hidden truth of Ann’s situation turns their lives on end and another tragedy strikes, the two must come to terms with family, faith and the depths to which true love can run.

Enigmatic title aside, Meander Scar shows us how faith and love can bring one through the most challenging of life's trials.

Apparent Widow Ann Ballard is plainly adored by her old friend/neighbor/attorney, Mark Roth. And Ann, after seven years of loneliness, is predictably appreciative of his attention. We'd like to believe it’s all pretty simple from there, but from the start, we can sense the aura of tragedy.

A believable setting and the interaction between several characters make this work very plausible. It begins with the dramatic twining of storm and nightmare, and from those first moments, Ann engages the reader's sympathies. Her predicament is both financial and emotional, but she is in the process of taking control.

Mark is a charmer, and seems genuine and likable from the first. Mark's had his own tragedies, and Ann, somehow, in the face of her own difficulties manages to 'offer him a shoulder.' That they become more - or could become more - gives Ann some measure of anxiety, but in the light of all that will happen, and has happened, defining who exactly the two of them are seems minor. The complexities, and very different agendas of various family members (even Ann's son) all add up to continuing challenges to their relationship.

Ms. Lickel's attention to small detail goes over the top in some areas, giving a minute-by-minute report of every motion or thought. It's not an enormous negative, but it does slow the action somewhat. Also annoying is Ann's tendency to placate the offensive characters around her, although it must be admitted that this failing, while frustrating, makes her an even more believable character. And the fact remains, Ms. Lickel certainly keeps us fully engaged from page one.

Because the author has done such a good job of creating sympathetic characters, all throughout the story we hope that love will bring Ann to a place where she can live true to herself and what she wants in life. A good read.