Jan 232013
 
Review: One Breath AwayOne Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf
Published by MIRA on Jun 26, 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Format: Paperback from BEA 2012
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

In her most emotionally charged novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered. In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town’s children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This was a powerful and emotional story. It’s the type of book that is easier to discuss than review because it’s hard to talk about the important parts without spoiling the plot.

The story is based on a horrible situation, yet still manages to be full of strong people, love and hope. Part of this is due to the focus on the characters. Mrs Oliver was a true hero. Her thoughts were about her classroom full of children, and she was quite determined to save them all, regardless of what it took. That type of devotion goes way beyond her job, and speaks to the heart of her character.

Angie was also a strong female character. Her love for her brother and desire to whatever she got to save him was quite remarkable. It was heartbreaking to know what they had gone through prior to moving to Broken Branch, and for them to end up embroiled in the hostage situation at work just seem cruel. No one deserves to go through that, but least of all pair of children who watched a terrible accident happen to their mother.

Overall, this was a remarkable book. It was based around a very sensitive and emotional topic that is sure to touch the heart of every reader, whether they have children or not. I can understand that this book would be too much for quite a few readers based on recent events, but it is a story that I think most readers would agree was very well done.

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