Whenever I’m in the mood for something light and fun, I’ll pick up one of Laura McNeill’s books. Sometimes I wonder if she and my other favorite light romance author Lisa Wingate are secret cousins. I can always feel my blood pressure dip down a few notches when I read their tender tales filled with love, hope and small Southern town charm. This book, however, had the opposite effect.
I figured this would be another easy breezy beach read, so I took it along on my trip to the Texas coast. Two hours after cracking it open at the pool, I found myself shouting “Just two more chapters!” when my husband came to retrieve me for dinner. Needless to say, it’s a pretty fast read.
The genius of the story is that it’s narrated by several characters who are in the throes of the world’s worst custody battle: Ava, the wronged, tormented wife; Mitchell, the Machiavellian child-stealing husband; and Jack, the little boy caught in the middle. There’s also a few other narratives thrown in the chaos including Ava’s lawyer, Mitchell’s concerned housekeeper and a very perceptive child psychiatrist.
The ebb and flow of the multiple narratives really moved the story along at lightning speed. I was constantly chasing that dangling carrot as the story flitted from one character’s perspective to the next. I grew to hate Mitchell more and more with every chapter as he continued to torment and sabotage his wife. The angrier I got, the faster I zipped through the pages until poor Ava could finally get some justice.
Laura clearly did her research on all that bureaucratic nonsense that goes down in custody battles. It’s amazing how people can be so easily stripped of their fundamental rights when they’re dealing with evil manipulators who know just how to play the game.
Lucky for Ava, she found herself a hot motorcycle-riding lawyer. Together, they hunted down the missing pieces of Mitchell’s mysterious life—and boy did they come across some doozies! It was fun watching them unravel the mystery and build up some serious ammunition for taking that repugnant man down piece by piece.
At first, I was a little angry with Ava for marrying such a bastard and letting him stomp all over her. But when I learned about her backstory, it all kind of made sense. Anyone who had to grow up with such an overbearing witch of a mother gets my sympathies.
As you can see this is a very character-driven book—and the author does a remarkable job bringing their personalities to life. I highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a good suspense novel that moves along at a supersonic clip. Now as books like Girl on a Train and Gone Girl are making big waves with the masses, Lauren timed this book just right.
2 thoughts on “Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill”
Jessica – I love you so much! Virtual hug, my friend. I am so glad that you enjoyed the book. And it means SO much to me, as I know that you give straight-up honest, no holds-barred reviews! It’s been so wonderful getting to know you and I’m still holding out hope that we can meet up in Austin sometime soon! xo, Laura
Aww I heart you too! You really threw down the gauntlet with this book. It’s going to be tough to top! I’m hoping to see you at BookPeople sometime in the near future!