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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Manuela Blayne: A Life Apart is a work of fiction in the emotional drama, historical fiction and coming of age sub-genres, and was penned by author Mary Lou Cheatham. Written for adult audiences, this work does contain some potentially triggering content regarding sexual assault and weapons, as well as tear-jerking depictions of real illness. The novel forms the fourth part of the Covington Chronicles, and it tells the tale of Trudy Cameron in the early twentieth century and her sharp awakening to the plight of others. When her friend Manuela suffers terrible hurt as the victim of an assault, Trudy comes to terms with the racial inequality that she sees all around her and is determined to find justice in a world reluctant to change.
Author Mary Lou Cheatham has crafted an excellent tale of friendship, self-discovery, and inner strength in this important and expressive work of interpersonal drama. One of the things which I found highly engaging about the work was the presence of innocence versus awakening, an excellent theme that drives Trudy’s emotional arc forward with some very effective speech and thought presentation. The plot revolves around this powerful emotive core, and its story beats are well-paced to deliver moments of high drama and quiet, thought-provoking contemplations. Overall, I would certainly recommend Manuela Blayne: A Life Apart for readers wishing to delve into the racial and social divides of the early twentieth century, as well as those who enjoy deeply emotive stories about realization and coming of age.