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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
If there’s one thing I can say about the author of Out of the Flames, Eileen Hare-Scott, it’s that she certainly is a story-teller. She is also a romantic, has an eye for detail, and knows the locations in which she sets her stories. I didn’t hesitate to select Out of the Flames for review as I had previously read and reviewed her wonderful book, A Chain of Events. That story was intricate, historically sound, and riveting. While the plot and characterization in Out of the Flames is less complicated, the author’s considerable story-telling skills kept me turning the pages of this very moving story about Catherine who barely survived a fire that took the lives of her adopted parents. Badly burned, and despite the care of doctors and nurses, Catherine wouldn’t communicate with anyone until one nurse brought her some music to enjoy, not realizing that inside that burned, heartbroken little body was a musical genius.
Out of the Flames traces Catherine’s development into a world-renowned pianist, but her path is anything but smooth. Separated a second time from a couple who love her dearly and wish to adopt her, she is sexually abused, turns inward and is brought back to life again through music. Then, as if she were jinxed, she begins losing to death various adults who have helped her along the way. Only her music gives her strength and carries her through the trauma she continually suffers. Catherine’s emotions ride a never-ending roller-coaster between extreme joy and intense grief. And we, the readers, feel every bit of what Catherine does. Out of the Flames is touching, romantic, and sad. While Eileen Hare-Scott illustrates her knowledge of music throughout the story, she also reveals her own compassion, sensitivity and understanding of just how people suffer when life continually throws hardship at them, and what it takes to come out on top. All up, an easy, absorbing read.