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by Nancy Geary
Warner Books, July 2003
322 pages
ISBN: 0446527548

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

REDEMPTION is the second book by Nancy Geary, which features Frances Pratt. Frances has always felt like she was the odd one out in her family. Her immediate family had several problems but her extended family always seemed perfect. As a child, she wished she could have been the child of her Aunt Adelaide and Uncle Bill. Now, she's a grownup with a job working with abused women and children. Her cousin Hope Alexander is getting married to John James Cabot and she will get the chance to see her family. Unfortunately she quickly realizes that nothing is as it seems. Hope is a walking ball of neuroses, there is family conflict and Penelope, Hope's sister, is in love with the groom. On the morning of the wedding, Hope is found dead, an apparent suicide. At the groom's request, Frances will remain in order to investigate this suicide. Once the autopsy is complete, it is obvious that Hope was murdered. Frances must determine who killed Hope before another victim is murdered.

REDEMPTION was rather disappointing. The characters are not consistent throughout the book, which is very frustrating. Most people are slightly inconsistent which makes them human; unfortunately, these characters flip flop so frequently, you would imagine they all have multiple personalities. It is obvious that Geary manipulated the characters numerous times in order to justify the plot line, which makes the entire book feel disjointed. At times Penelope is sympathetic to her sister's plight, sometimes she's a selfish bitch and at others she is chasing after the groom. Hope cannot decide what she wants and does the things others want her to; however, this does not match the personality that appears in her diary. Hope has an excuse for her behavior; unlike the other characters she is running from a demon in her past. Frances is the worst offender. She remembers her extended family as perfect; however, when they do some thing mean she remembers how they were always like that. Now people do delude themselves about their lives but this went beyond delusions. Frances is against marriage in general. She is comfortable with the situation she and her boyfriend have and does not want to change it; however, she later decides that she could. Basically the characters all go through several ninety degree turns in personality traits, which made it difficult to care what happened to them.

REDEMPTION deals with several serious situations by ignoring them. There are the issues of incest, child abuse and eating disorders to simply name a few. They are necessary for the plot but that is all. There is no depth, discussion of the consequences or anything. Just as the characters lack consistency, the events that happen to them lack depth, which makes the book drag.

REDEMPTION leaves a lot to be desired. For example, the murderer is discovered simply because the other suspects are murdered, and Hope left blatant clues to her killer in her diary. The characters are inconsistent and the plot lacks the depth necessary to keep readers' attention.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, July 2003

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