7 June 2013

ARCBA Review: Picking up the Pieces by Paula Vince

6 - 10 May
is introducing

Picking up the pieces
(Even Before Publishing 2010)

Paula Vince
About the Author
Award winning Australian author, PAULA VINCE, loves to evoke tears and laughter through writing fiction. She has a passion to provide inspiring stories that highlight her own beautiful country.

Website is http://www.paulavince.com/
About the Book:
“One terrible decision leads to another and the Parker and Quinlan families find out what it means to be in total despair.

In a moment of recklessness, Blake Quinlan does something he never should. The bitter consequences of his impulse will reverberate through the rest of his life unless he learns to deal with his past.

Without warning, Claire Parker’s life shatters. One horrific event leads to a choice that she can never forget. She must find a source of strength and forgiveness to help her recover or she will never again be the happy person she once was.

Moving forward, there is still a ray of hope. A triumphant story about forgiveness, new beginnings and the power of love.”

My Review

Clare Parker sees Blake Quinlan on a bus on the way to a Christian camp, which takes her back seven years to when she last saw Blake, and how his actions shattered her life... The book then moves back seven years, showing us how Clare and Blake met, what happened, and how they both pick up the pieces of their lives after Blake rapes Clare. The second half of the book brings us back to the present, with Clare and Blake meeting on the bus and what happens next, with the story told from both the point of view of both Clare and Blake.

From Clare's point of view, I thought the book was a sensitive portrayal of recovery from a life-changing event for which she feels guilty and ashamed. It felt realistic - Clare's recovery is long and painful, which contrasts with some other books I've read with a similar plot (one I read had the heroine mortally afraid of men one day and falling in love the next, which seemed a little unlikely, to say the least). Clare's recovery is made harder by the well-meaning actions of her family members, both Christian and non-Christian. Sadly, this was entirely believable, and made compelling reading.

But the plot from Blake's point of view was, if possible, even more compelling. Bla ke is not the cardboard cut-out violent, woman-hating rapist. He is a shy, sensitive boy/man (he's 18) with a violent father. On a date with Clare (arranged by his mother), Blake gets so drunk that he commits an unthinkable act for which he hates himself, feeling guilty and ashamed, but knowing there is nothing he can do to change his past action or make it better. So, he too is left picking up the pieces of his life, and facing the scorn of his family and the violence of his father.

This book is well worth reading, for its sensitive handling of a difficult subject, and for the underlying themes of redemption and forgiveness in unthinkable circumstances.


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  2. Good review Iola. Mine went up today at

  3. Awesome review! Thanks for your thoughts on this book.

    Just wanted to share...

    I have numerous book giveaways going on at my site if you want to enter.

    Also, I am putting together a "Best of Books" Blog Hop to share the books you loved the most in 2013. You can click here for more info and to sign up. http://dianeestrella.com/best-ofs/

    Have a great weekend!
    Diane :)