Evan’s ESS = out of 10
Erin’s ESS = 6.5 out of 10
Content = R (Violence, Adult Situations, Sexual Content, Language, Nightmarish Vacations)
“I’m so ecstatic, so overwhelmed with relief, that I nearly miss the fact that Jonathon is speaking Spanish”
Why: We’ve had our fair share of tropical vacations over the years and while some turned out less than memorable we’re quite sure the main character’s experience in A Small Fortune has us beat. And that’s definitely a good thing...
Celia Donnelly is about to undertake a much deserved beach vacation with her husband and teenage son. Between the stress of her job and less than perfect home life, she’s very much looking forward to the tropical retreat. However, almost as soon as she arrives at the resort, her plans take a dramatic turn for the worst. Being abducted and kidnapped has a tendency to do that. Celia is left with far more questions than answers and almost no one to trust. Her quest to find the truth will push her beyond her limits and take her halfway across the world.
A Small Fortune is a quick, very suspenseful, yet not entirely faultless read. Overall, we (Erin) thought it was a nice blend of chick-lit and suspense and a solid debut novel for Audrey Braun. From the very first page, we felt like we were on the couch talking to one of our girlfriends about her harrowing vacation experience (we may or may not have prepared chips and salsa and frozen margaritas for the occasion). We enjoyed how matter of fact the narrator described the events and many of the metaphors blended nicely into the prose. Also, Celia’s relationship with her son (or lack thereof) was quite bittersweet, yet believable. It inspired us to give our
frequently occasionally nagging preschoolers a couple of giant hugs. A Small Fortune didn’t quite fall into the “up all night” category, but we saw the other side of midnight on one occasion.
The flaws. For us, we wanted a bit more - more back story, more character development, and more ending. For all the in-your-face suspense, things wrapped a little too quickly. We also thought the hibbidy-dibbidy scenes between Celia and a certain unnamed secondary character felt forced and out of place with the rest of the story. Still, our peeves are relatively small as a whole and A Small fortune was an enjoyable read. If nothing else, this novel highlights the importance of checking the contents of your family’s luggage before hopping on the plane to some tropical Caribbean beach resort...
Editors Note: This book was generously provided as an advanced reading copy.