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Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite
Maggie makes assumptions based on a glimpse of an interaction and changes the course of her life as well as her views on love and relationships. She abruptly leaves her first love, Thomas, behind and for the most part, gives up on love altogether. That is until years later, when she meets an adorable little girl with an off-center ponytail and the scent of Juicy Fruit gum named Izzie. It is just Izzie and her dad Donald, and little Izzie satisfies Maggie’s need to be loved and wanted, even if it is in the unconditional way of young children. In Peace by Piece, Carole Fragale Brill paints a portrait of a very insecure woman in Maggie, who makes most of her choices based on fear, mostly a fear of being alone. Although there is absolutely no spark between Maggie and Donald, she marries him and devotes her life to raising Izzie who has become a daughter to her.
Incomplete is the best word to describe Maggie. She doesn't feel beautiful or loved or lovable. Struggling with eating disorders and a completely distorted self-image, she allows Donald to dictate that she put all of her dreams on hold to be a mother to Maggie without any children of her own. Carol Fragale Brill tells this story beautifully, weaving the past and the present together seamlessly so the reader gets the whole story rather than missing important bits. When Maggie finally decides that she matters to herself, if to no one else, she goes and accomplishes her goals and gets a second chance to feel loved again. The title is just one of the memorable phrases in Peace by Piece, but it is so apt for everything Maggie goes through and where she eventually ends up. This is a story about the characters and the author does a fantastic job of showing Maggie’s growth and journey to learning to love herself.