Drawn from Life

a psychological suspense

Fiction - Literary
360 Pages
Reviewed on 04/10/2024
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Author Biography

A native of rural Connecticut, Sarah P. Blanchard graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in literature and from Nichols College in Massachusetts with an M.B.A. in marketing.
Many of her short stories, poems, and essays have been published in magazines and literary journals. She was a finalist for the 2021 Doris Betts Fiction Prize; her short story collection, Playing Chess with Bulls, was published in December 2023. Sarah taught writing and communications for five years at the University of Hawaii-Hilo. She’s led many fiction and poetry workshops, and taught fiction writing in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She also worked for many years in media with stints as a magazine editor, radio news reporter, textbook editor, and talk show host. DRAWN FROM LIFE is her debut novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

What an indescribable pleasure it is to find a novel that holds you captive not just with its clever, dark plot, but with characters so riveting, real, and relatable that it’s impossible to put the book down. Drawn from Life by Sarah P. Blanchard is one of those stories I won’t forget in a hurry, with its contrasting protagonist, Emma Gillen, and antagonist, Lucy, Emma’s cousin. When we first meet these cousins, though they appear close, one senses something odd about their relationship. It takes a frightening car accident that results in the deaths of three people and leaves Emma with permanent disabilities to make readers question that relationship. As the plot details slowly unfold, so do these two women’s personalities and characters.

It’s fascinating to watch how skillfully the author lets the characters fully evolve. Also clever, sometimes even amusing, is Blanchard’s depiction of the effects of brain damage on Emma’s speech. Yet the author’s depiction of that, along with Emma’s relationship with her father, Chaz, and the detective who helps her discover the truth about the accident is handled with such sensitivity. Stellar writing from one of the best writers I’ve had the pleasure to review. The end notes about Sarah P. Blanchard tell us that she “is drawn to flawed, compassionate characters who believe they must battle their demons alone and complex antagonists who think they have nothing to lose.” Emma and Lucy illustrate that approach perfectly. Drawn from Life is a superb blend of psychological thriller and literary fiction, making it a novel that resonates with fans of both genres. If you’re one of those fans, add it to your bucket list now! I cannot recommend this novel highly enough.