Everyone in Wheeler, New Mexico, thinks Joanna leads the perfect life: the quiet, contented housewife of a dashing deputy sheriff, raising a beautiful young daughter, Laurel. Read more...
Everyone in Wheeler, New Mexico, thinks Joanna leads the perfect life: the quiet, contented housewife of a dashing deputy sheriff, raising a beautiful young daughter, Laurel. But Joanna's reality is nothing like her facade. Behind closed doors, she lives in constant fear of her husband. She's been trapped for so long, escape seems impossible--until a stranger offers her the help she needs to flee....
On the run, Joanna and Laurel stumble upon the small town of Morro, a charming and magical village that seems to exist out of time and place. There a farmer and his wife offer her sanctuary, and soon, between the comfort of her new home and blossoming friendships, Joanna's soul begins to heal, easing the wounds of a decade of abuse.
But her past--and her husband--aren't so easy to escape. Unwilling to live in fear any longer, Joanna must summon a strength she never knew she had to fight back and forge a new life for her daughter and herself....
CONVERSATION GUIDE INCLUDED
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-22
- Reviewer: Staff
Dietrich's debut novel is a richly imagined tale of finding strength and redemption. In present-day Wheeler, N.M., Joanna is a devoted mother trapped in an abusive relationship with Jim, a vicious police officer. No one believes her stories of his violence until his ex-girlfriend, Bernadette, shows up and offers to help her. Joanna and her daughter, Laurel, make a break for it and end up in the idyllic mountain town of Morro. While there, they rest and heal, develop friendships and romances, and build up the strength to go back and face Jim. However, the longer they spend there, the more Joanna believes that all in Morro is not what it seems. She realizes that unlike the other people in Morro, she has a choice to leave the lovely town, and she must take it to protect Laurel and build a life for her, even if that means confronting the man who wishes her harm. Dietrich paints a beautiful picture of the town of Morro, which escapes its place and time in an utterly charming fashion. She also realistically depicts abuse. However, the magical aura around Morro never quite clicks for readers. There are hints of spiritual elements from a variety of cultures, but they don't gel properly, and no one ever quite acknowledges what Morro is, even the residents. This frustratingly takes readers out of the narrative. The fantastical elements and setting have potential, but the story is too uneven. (June)