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Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite
Three Rules is the story of Hope Wellman who suffered abuse at the hands of her stepfather’s brother Lucas. At the story opens, Hope is attending the funeral of her abuser and she slowly unravels the story of how she came to be a Wellman and the horrors she had to endure. Hope wants to put the past behind her, but she learns it is not as simple as wishing it so, and struggles to move past her current fear and inner pain. Since the body of Lucas was never recovered, moving forward is truly difficult due to the constant fear that he will return. Marie Drake captures the fear, anxiety and desperation fantastically, allowing us to experience Hope’s past pain and her current anxiety and torment along with her.
Three Rules is more than a melancholy story about the recovery of an abuse victim. It is a mystery and a drama and a work of incredible strength. There is something strange going on with her stepfather Luther, which is causing tension between Hope and her best friend Joey, whom she also happens to be in love with, and that is where things really start to unfold. Nothing is as it appears to be and Marie Drake presents these details beautifully. She never makes the connections obvious, but the reader can always see how the mistakes could have been made. Hope, although fragile, is a survivor and that makes all the dysfunction and horror in this story bearable. Where most would have been broken, Hope is fractured but willing to be whole again, giving Three Rules the glimmer of hope running through almost every page. The three rules Hope reveals at the end are phenomenal, with that ingrained element of truth valid for so many different aspects of life.