Friday, August 10, 2018

Book Review: 'Finding Sophie' by Laura Lovett

‘When she was old enough to understand that he was her real father, he would no longer keep his distance.’

Canadian author Laura Lovett has successfully written books in the academic and business world. She is a practicing psychologist and an entrepreneur, and now turns her talents to writing novels. LOSING CADENCE was her impressive debut: now she offers the sequel to that book in FINDING SOPHIE – her continued fascination with psychological thrillers. Laura lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Though there are many authors who write successful psychological thrillers, few of them are actually practicing psychologists. That career decision enhances the credibility of Laura’s novel. We never feel as though w are being lead through a maze of psychological terms or states for the sake of drama, but instead because the author understands the etiology of mental dysfunction, has dealt with permutations of her writing’s devising, and therefore ads a dimension of credibility to what may some seem diversions of ‘madness’.
Some sequels work, others remain unfocused, but Laura’s conclusion of her first novel in this sequel works on every level. Her writing is firm, well crafted and rich in introspection. Even the tone of the opening of the story provides a smooth transition into the tale that continues to unwind – ' Richard sat in his villa in the Bahamas, the warm ocean breeze and sounds of the lapping waves coming through the large, open doors of the massive deck. He was fixated not on the magnificent view, but on his computer screen that was livestreaming his daughter’s twelfth birthday party. He felt the adrenaline coursing through his veins as he knew his time was drawing near. He saw her beautiful smile, her sweet face. “Happy birthday, dear Sophie. Happy birthday to you!” played through the speaker. Sophie took a deep breath, focusing intently on the twelve candles on what appeared to be a yellow cake decorated with pink flowers. She blew with great effort, ten of the twelve candles smoking in defeat, as her friends joked about the two she’d missed. He ached to be there with his family, in Christian’s place, where he belonged. The cameras were his companions; they helped him be part of Sophie’s life. He was there for all major events through that small eye nestled so inconspicuously that most top agents wouldn’t be able to uncover it. Leo, the ex-CIA agent who helped him in the dark days after Cadence left him to die in the fire, was a genius at this gig. The hideous scars from the third-degree burns on his face and body were a constant reminder of that day; for years, he had wished it had been his last. But in Richard’s world there was always a plan, then another, and another one after that. Richard had backup upon backup, which saved his life when a guard who was stationed nearby arrived just in time to save Richard from being burned alive or bleeding out from the deep stab wound in his chest. That knife had only been an inch from puncturing his pulmonary artery. The heat of the fire felt as though it was tearing apart his soul, or what was left of it. The thick, dark smoke engulfed his body, and he felt the sharp, throbbing pain of the wound in his chest as he tried to breathe. He recalled those final moments on that burning deck. “Let me die,” Richard whispered.’

And again the summary of the story provides enough substrate for this to stand as a single book (though reading the two parts closely together is far more engrossing): ‘For twelve years, Cadence Davidson has dreaded her daughter’s twelfth birthday, for that is the day she will tell Sophie who her true father really is. Sophie’s world is turned upside down when she learns that her biological father is really Richard White, the man who abducted her mother twelve years earlier. She wonders if she will ever meet the elusive billionaire, only to find herself suddenly abducted into the life that he has carefully crafted for her and her mother. She begs to be free from this man who has torn apart her family, yet struggles with her emotions as she finds herself softening towards her father and abductor. Richard White must fight to salvage his dream of finally having the love of his life, Cadence, and his daughter, Sophie, together. Despite his carefully orchestrated plan, he’s faced with unexpected events that threaten to wreck his dream forever. As his inner voice taunts him, Richard strives to preserve his family and come to know his beautiful daughter. Will Richard be able to find peace and hold on to the family he has fought for a lifetime to bring together? Love, loss and courage coalesce on the great Pacific Ocean as Richard faces his demons and makes one final choice to find peace and love.’

First class book – and a keenly developed sequel to Book 1 - Laura has found her niche and her audience. Highly recommended

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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