If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.
Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.
It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.
And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.
And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.
Warning: Only read my review if you want a heads up on what to expect. For those that like to be surprised or don’t want a single thing to be spoiled, just go into the book 100% blind.
Had I known beforehand this book contained a heavy paranormal aspect with many biblical references I would’ve liked it a lot more than I actually did. In the author’s own words, I would’ve been able to prepare ahead of time. I definitely would’ve started the book with a different mindset. Instead, I spent the first 25% of the story feeling confused – was Moses insane? Did he have a mental illness? I finally had enough and got a friend to tell me what his deal was: Moses can see the dead. He sees ghosts. He hears their voices. And then he paints them. I mean, just looking from the blurb that aspect is so not obvious! After discussing with a few readers, we all agreed that seeing ghosts + dead people = paranormal. So for those that think this book shouldn’t be categorized under this genre, it’s your prerogative to think what you want, but for other like-minded readers’ reference, I feel it’s imperative to give everyone the option to fully know what to expect, not deliberately omit such a crucial aspect in fear it may ward away potential readers.
Being honest with you, it shouldn’t have to matter what ‘genre’ this book is because loyal fans of this author will still want to read her books regardless. Instead, I felt like the omission was a very subtle but manipulative marketing move, and those leave such a sour taste in my mouth.
Please don’t think I based my 2 star rating entirely on this one issue. It’s a part of the reason for the low rating but I also had major problems with the plot and characters.
Characters: Maybe it’s because both books were set in the same town but the main characters here felt like carbon copies of the characters from Running Barefoot. I had just finished the former a couple days ago in preparation for this book so the similarities are jarring. The hero Moses is a misunderstood loner with parents from different worlds and he doesn’t belong in either, sort of like Samuel Yates. And the heroine Georgia is a sweet girl loved by all who sees the hero and wants to ‘fix’ him, be his friend, and make him smile, no matter what it takes, sort of like Josie Jensen. Quite frankly, Moses was a jerk (once again, like Samuel AND is a jerk in the exact same way). He had his shining moments but when it came down to testing his feelings for Georgia, he turned chicken and used the classic ‘I’m not good enough’ excuse to step back and create conflict. As for Georgia, I do admire her resiliency and for the most part I loved her character, but she was definitely a doormat when it came to Moses and part of me really wanted her to grow a backbone sooner than later in the story.
Plot: With the story being more inspirational fiction than romance, I got bored several times in the book and had to push myself to finish. It was even tougher to stay invested because two plot devices I absolutely cannot stand were present. There is a very big time gap that I felt crippled the second half of the story. It’s tricky with time jumps because I always wonder…why that certain number of years? Why 3 or 5 or 10? The author really has to convince me time jumps serve a purpose rather than be a shortcut to a happy ending and sadly, the very long time gap in this book did nothing but piss me off. And right before the time jump, there is a quick reveal about Georgia that was a huge pet peeve. I do think blurting out what it is can be a spoiler so if you want to know, message me privately.
At times, the writing was evocative and the 5 Greats theme was wonderful. I do know fans of this author will find another winner with this story that oozes positivity. As for me, I’m just going to move on now since I’m starting to feel like the Grinch who stole Christmas…