Monday, July 12, 2010

Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky

Marnie owns a coffeeshop/bookstore on the West coast. Fifteen years earlier she fled the East coast and her past, thinking she had caused the death of her unborn child through a motorcycle accident. Still on the East coast is her lawyer lover of one night who still loves her (and she him). Marnie’s estranged sister of fifteen years dies and leaves Marnie (via the lawyer) her teenage son. When he arrives at the airport, Marnie is stunned to find out she must deal with a Down’s syndrome teen.

If all of this seems complicated, it is. Add to the mix flashbacks as the reader gradually learns of the abandonment of the sisters and their placement into foster care, of the romance between Marnie and the lawyer, of the motorcycle accident and more.
I found this novel hard to follow as the flashbacks were not set off in any way and it often took me a paragraph or so to understand the change in time. While the characters were well developed, at times their behavior seemed inconsistent with their personalities. The Christianity of the characters was inconsistent as well. While the lawyer was able to find Marnie immediately when he needed to because of the orphaned nephew, why had he not done so during the fifteen intervening years, if he loved her so much? Craig, the child protective services case worker, is the most inconsistent in character and the most puzzling at to his necessary role in the plot.
Part romance, part a novel about experiencing forgiveness, the plot was just a little too complex and forced for me.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
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