THE NINTH STEP by Barbara Taylor Sissel
Published by Author
At the request of the author, a digital edition was supplied, at no cost to me, for my honest opinion.
Synopsis (borrowed from Amazon): Livie Saunders is fluent in the language of flowers; she taught the meanings to her fiancé, Cotton O’Dell, but then Cotton vanishes without explanation on their wedding day forcing Livie to learn the language of desolation. Heartbroken, she buries her wedding gown beneath a garden pond and resolves to move on, but there are nights when she slips . . . into a sequined red dress and a pair of stiletto heels, a stranger’s bed, a little anonymous oblivion that is not without consequence. Still, she recovers a semblance of ordinary life and imagines she is content. But then, six years later, Cotton returns and her carefully constructed world shatters. The old questions bite like flies. Questions that Cotton O’Dell prays he can answer. He prays that Livie, whom he has never stopped loving, will be moved to forgive him. But there is more than Livie to be concerned about. There is Cotton’s act of cowardice that caused him to become a fugitive in the first place . . . that crime he committed for which the legal clock is still ticking. That thing he did that will shock Livie to her core once she learns of it. Livie is desperate to trust Cotton, but then he goes missing again. Time telescopes, avenues of escape close, and as lives hang in the balance, choice dithers between mercy and revenge. And a decision that will take only a moment will carry the consequences of a lifetime.
THE NINTH STEP is a story of redemption, of being brought to your knees in the sober light of day to face a monstrous error and yet somehow finding the strength to stand up, to try and make it right. Even if that decision breaks your heart, endangers your freedom and ultimately threatens your life.
My Thoughts and Opinion: The 9th step in AA’s 12 step recovery program is to make amends to those that you have hurt while in the throes of one’s alcohol addiction period. But just think how hard it is to ask forgiveness when we do things that may hurt others by our words or actions when sober. And then magnify that because of what alcohol does to the mind and body.
I enjoy reading books that have realistic relationship dynamics between characters, characters that are created by the author and then brought to life by the dynamic writing skills. Characters, whereas, you feel that you know them personally, feel their emotions, become their friends and turning the pages to see what happens but then not wanting the book to end because so does the friendship. One of the main characters, Cotton, after being gone for 6 years returns, wanting to make those amends for what he had done. (Vague begins here to avoid spoilers). What he did was awful, however, it is hard to despise this character. The same goes with other characters in the book. They are all flawed in some ways, all need to make amends, alcohol induced or not. The suspenseful portion of the book also had me turning the pages, would he, could he admit to what he had done? What were the consequences going to be? Definitely (again vague for omission of spoilers) not what I thought!! The ending was disappointing in a way that I felt it was left with a cliff hanger because of the connections I made with the characters. Maybe a sequel? I hope so!!! An engrossing read!!