Summary: Shelby’s life isn’t glamorous, but it is predictable—and that’s the way she likes it. A survivor of her father’s violence, she has spent a lifetime creating a safe existence devoid of dependence. But her carefully managed world begins to break when, under staggering circumstances, she becomes a single mother to four-year-old Shayla.
In a drastic attempt to escape her childhood’s influence, Shelby moves to Germany, but she quickly discovers how intimately linked memory and healing are—and how honestly she must scrutinize her past in order to aspire to a richer future. As she juggles a new job, a new culture, a new daughter, and the attention of an enterprising man, Shelby’s fresh start becomes a quest for the courage to be not only a survivor, but someone who prevails.
Summary and Image: Tyndale House Publishers
In Broken Places is the first book I’ve read by Michele Phoenix. As I write this review, I cannot remember what about the summary drew me into choosing it, unless it was the words “she becomes a single mother of four-year-old Shayla. Having been a single mother, but through different circumstances, perhaps my empathy for single mothers everywhere called my name.
This book recently travelled with me via Amtrak across the country, and it made for a good read among other passengers, in busy dining and lounge cars, and when there was lots of starting and stopping. And that is thanks to the seamless writing used by its author.
At once, Phoenix drew me to a caring state of mind and heart for her characters. Shelby and her brother, Trey, had survived years of abuse at the hands of a father who then suddenly left the family. Together, they had shared a bond unbreakable. They thought he was out of their lives forever.
But an unimaginable surprise waited for Shelby when their father dies. Under his will, he leaves her something she doesn’t know how to cope with, or for that matter know what to do with. This bequest ultimately changes her life and that of other people.
Her decision about this bequest takes her to Germany, a new teaching position, a handsome coach who wants nothing more than to get to know her better, and new-found friends who give her the support she needs. A story which restores hope and joy.
Here you must trust me: If you’re looking for a poignant, fast-moving summer read, In Broken Places is for you. Michele Phoenix knows how to keep her readers engaged and moving toward that last page.
Michele lives in Wheaton, Illinois.
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I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
Coming Up: Next review is The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd and soon a post on “What Is a Summer Read?”