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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie grabs you on page one and doesn't let you go. What a marvellous read this is. The plot line covers many years in the topsy-turvy life of Megan Youngblood, who as a young child has only two ways to escape the hardship and unhappiness of having a domineering, manipulative mother who drives her dear husband to suicide. Megan suffers terribly after her father's death, but escapes her pain through her piano. She becomes a famous concert pianist. Her other escape is a beloved childhood companion, Gideon, but thanks to the machinations of her mother, as an adult, Megan loses Gideon too. When she bows to her mother's wishes and marries a famous, but narcissistic movie star, Jordan, whom she doesn't love, her life begins an even steeper downward spiral that costs Megan her children and her health.
If Someone Close to Home was not classified as fiction, you would believe you were reading a memoir. The entire story is expertly told in first person, but what makes the delivery doubly intriguing is how the story unfolds. The story opens with Megan, totally incapacitated, lying on a bed in what appears to be an old people's home. The only part of her that is "working" is her hearing, eyes, and mind. What she hears from those in charge of her care is a sometimes horrifying look into how overworked and harried such nurses are, and now mean and cruel some can be. It's enough to make one wish they never find themselves in such a situation. As Megan drifts in and out of sleep, she tells her sad tale of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her sadistic husband, who changes from a loving, attentive suitor to a cruel control freak right on their wedding night. His actions leave Megan and the reader shuddering.
Is Someone Close to Home devoid of love and happiness? Happily, not at all. The ending of the story is romantic and utterly touching. Despite the twists and turns in the plot, Alex Craigie leaves us completely satisfied with no loose ends. The author restores our faith that good will win over evil, as love conquers all. The book is brilliant. It reads like a memoir and grips like great fiction should. Beautiful characterization. A fantastic read by a fantastic writer. Loved it. Five stars in every way.