Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers' Favorite
With so much to do to get the soon-to-open Bed and Breakfast ready, Jess Connors tries to do too much too fast. In One Wrong Turn by Deanna Lynn Sletten, Jess swerves on the wet highway to avoid a dog and the SUV skids and rolls, leaving her in a serious condition with a head injury. Clay Connors arrives at the hospital the day after the accident, fearing the worst. Clay has been away from his wife and daughters for two years, unsure of their acceptance after a third attempt at rehab for his alcoholism. Each day sober makes the fear of disappointing them again even stronger so Clay has put off going back. Now that he will have to take care of his girls while Jess lies in a coma, Clay has his work cut out for him. Twelve-year-old Maddie is unwilling to forgive while seven-year-old Jilly just wants things to be normal. Getting to know each other and rebuild that trust is a tough job, but Clay is willing to work it out with the help of the neighbors and the support of his AA group. Throughout the touch and go days of Jess’s coma, Clay relives the past and works hard on establishing the groundwork for a better future. Now, if only Jess will wake up and return to them.
Poignant and heartfelt, the emotional ups and downs of One Wrong Turn clearly demonstrate how fragile life is, both literally and figuratively. Deanna Lynn Sletten has created deep, believable characters who show strengths and weaknesses but grow in spite of the tremendous hurt and despair they feel. Clay’s struggle with alcohol and the impact on his wife and children are realistically and straight-forwardly portrayed, without overshadowing the main theme of uniting as a family for the love of Clay’s life and the mother of his children. A gentle handling of the AA association tells the story without becoming preachy. The use of present and past makes the struggle really come alive and leaves you hoping for a happy ending for the whole family.