Three Rules

Fiction - Realistic
286 Pages
Reviewed on 09/04/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I live in a small town near Lake Ontario with my husband, and our four boys. My first love has always been my family and children. I ran a home daycare for over 10 years. Following that, my husband and I dedicated ourselves to being foster parents to more than fifteen children over five years. At times, we were raising eight children in our home.
I spend as much time reading as possible. Romance is probably my favorite genre, and I am especially inclined to read historical romances. But a suspense thriller is often in my hand as well. I love my kindle.
I am a crochet fanatic. I design my own patterns and enjoy crocheting for friends, family, and charity.
I love to cook and bake, especially when making up a new recipe.
I am addicted to the games Words With Friends and WordFeud.
I enjoy football and hockey seasons with my husband and sons - Giants, Seahawks, and Broncos fans in the house. BIG time Bruins fans. And we go Orange - SU basketball.
While juggling all my boys' sporting events, academic, musical, and other extra curricular activities, and running a small home-based business designing crochet afghan patterns, I squeeze in time for writing each day. I'm passionate about writing. I love the way it makes me feel. I write because I have stories to tell and seeing what is on my mind spilling out on paper feeds my soul. I hope to contribute something readers can enjoy.

    Book Review

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.

Lisa McCombs

“I have learned three rules in my life: 1.) The most dangerous people in the world are not always strangers. 2.) The scariest things imaginable are not those that can kill you, but those you can live through. And probably the most prominent: 3.) The most horrible possibility is not what could happen to you, but what you could become. I became a killer. I took another life.” These are the words that Hope Wellman lives by. All of her life she believed that the wicked one was dead and that she would no longer live under his reign of controlled terror. But there were words that haunted her: A promise is a promise. No matter how far beneath the ground her Uncle Lucas was, those five words sent a chill through her body that no warm hug could erase.

Marie Drake has created a moving story of physical and psychological abuse. In her novel Three Rules, Drake brings to life the emotions and fears of the abused. It is unsettling that this happens every day in our society and it is most often very easily hidden from unsuspecting eyes. It is difficult to overcome personal emotion when writing about a subject so “close to home.” Because the author added discussion questions at the end of the book, I can easily see this as a book club activity that would create a passionate round table discussion. Overall, I enjoyed the book.

Author Anna del C. Dye

Three Rules By Marie Drake is a book that deals with child abuse, in this case the author’s own abuse. The author has done an awesome job with this story. Three Rules was written as fiction in order to make it an enjoyable read, but many of the thought processes, feelings and reactions to the abuse are real. It is so hard to believe what humans are capable of doing to other humans, especially children in the name of...what?

There are so many forms of abuse in the world that it overwhelms me. Most of us have dealt with abuse in different forms over the course of our lives. Most often it is inflicted on us by those who should have protected us or kept us safe. In this book we find the powerful but not graphic details of another victim and how she overcame it.

In this story, Hope is a young woman turning twenty-one. She is dealing with the death of her tormentor, but there are other things in her life that she needs to deal with, too. The death of her tormentor does nothing to help her deal with a lot of her fears and heartaches in order to move on with her life, free once and for ever.

Marie Drake states in her book, Three Rules, “Most of all, I wanted to express how important it is to encourage the discussion of abuse. In my book, as in my life, silence is the enemy.” These are words that I have heard many times before from victims of abuse, and that we as parents or adults do not take to heart to prevent this horrible disease from spreading. It was a pleasure to read this book and it was hard to put it down. It is a book full of mystery, drama and a great page-turner. It will be loved by teenagers and adults.

Viga Boland

Three Rules by Marie Drake is an absorbing, occasionally puzzling read, but for a good reason: Marie wants to keep the reader guessing, and she certainly succeeds in doing so. At the heart of this fictional story is child sexual abuse, but while the circumstances are made up, the emotions, reactions and fears of the protagonist, Hope, are very real. Any victim of child sexual abuse, especially by a relative, will immediately identify with what Hope feels in Three Rules.

Hope suffers from flashbacks, confused memories, nightmares and depression, even years after the abuse has stopped, all of which arouses tension and curiosity in the reader. We want to know what is this really all about? Who is the abuser? Is it whom Hope believes it is or is there something else going on with her family? Hope wants to be normal, but she has difficulty responding to males, even one she loves, her childhood friend, Joey. To add even more intrigue, Marie tosses in greedy, self-serving adults, another abused child, a policeman determined to get to the bottom of a mysterious disappearance and circumstances that just don't add up. All of it keeps the reader of Three Rules turning the pages.

Besides being an interesting read, Three Rules has an important message about the devastating and long-term effects of silence on all victims of child sexual abuse. This, in itself, makes Marie Drake's book a very worthwhile read. With reasonable-length chapters, a colourful cast of characters, some romance and lots of suspense, women especially will enjoy Three Rules.

Suzanne Cowles

The book is simply titled Three Rules, but the story that leads to the formation of the rules is tragic, although the ending is not a tragedy. That is how complex the plot woven by author Marie Drake, who tells a fictional tale of her own personal suffering and life experiences. With courage to talk about a closed-door subject and a will to break the cycle of abuse, we follow main character Hope as she attends her stepfather’s funeral. The opening sets the tone of a dreadful saga where Hope’s past haunts her; she is plagued by horrific nightmares and feels worthless, controlled and paranoid. Hope needs closure but can’t get it and panic attacks ensue. The secret is disturbing and the silence is soul crushing, yet the weight of the truth squelches her voice. Nevertheless, despite all this, in the end the truth is set free. With the help of her psychiatrist and the endearing love of a childhood friend, Hope has promise for a fresh start free of the chains that had bound her heart.

The most powerful aspect of this book is the Three Rules: the harsh reality that sexual abuse is often by someone known and trusted, surviving violence only to be victimized another day is worse than death, and that negative events can change who we are into a monster. Those things are evident as Hope experiences them firsthand. This is a well-crafted story where Marie Drake’s talent and passion for writing comes through. It is inspiring that her memories of pain and anger toward the abuser could be transformed into a positive and entertaining creation. Marie Drake’s Three Rules is an unexpected gem, devoid of graphic offense yet spine tingling enough to disturb.

Desiree Putanski via Amaz

"When I first started reading this book I groaned. Yep, I sat on my couch and let the sound come out and my husband poked his head around the corner to ask what was wrong. “It’s about a girl who was abused as a child”… as a mother, and the mother of a little girl, that always makes me cringe. I usually shy away from books that deal with any sort of abuse, but especially those where children are involved. Then I went and found the note from the author. I felt compelled at that point. She promised that no gory details were included and she held true to that promise.

All of the main characters are well developed. I’m not sure that I was a big fan of Hope at the beginning. And I know that my initial dislike of her had more to do with not being able to understand where she was coming from. Sometimes we just get that whole “get over it and move on” attitude when we are faced with other people’s demons. I fell into that trap, but the more I got to know her, the more I came to like her and feel her pain. The character was developed in such a way that you want to help her instead of pity her. We are given details of her abuse through a series of flashbacks. In a lot of books this type of story development can get confusing, but the author does a fantastic job of separating the past from the present, but melds it together to keep the story flowing. What we learn of Lucas is all from the flashbacks; and there are subtle clues given in each of these flashbacks that upon first reading you might just miss. There were several scenes I went back and reread because I realized a chapter or so down the road that what I needed to know was there the whole time.

Joey is amazing. He’s been Hope’s friend since they were children and is at the point where he refuses to let her retreat back into her shell. He provides the right amount of support without being pushy. Probably the only character that I never really connected to was Karen, Joey’s sister. I wasn’t real thrilled with her deception but, it was a necessary part of the story development. Joey and Karen’s parents played a large role, even though it was kind of behind the scenes. They were responsible for a lot of the relationships that were formed in this book. Not in a bad way, but you have to read it to find out what I mean.

I look forward to reading more by this author. I was riveted by the first chapter and didn’t put it down until I was done. Hopefully the future holds more great books from her!"


" “I have learned three rules in my life: 1.) The most dangerous people in the world are not always strangers. 2.) The scariest things imaginable are not those that can kill you, but those you can live through. And probably the most prominent: 3.) The most horrible possibility is not what could happen to you, but what you could become – I became a killer.” ~Hope Wellman

Hope Wellman has been haunted for years by her years of abusive. Abuse that was at the hands of her step-fathers brother, Lucas Wellerman.
The moment the funeral is over Hope needs to get on with her life. She needs to put the past behind her, but how?? She is plagued by nightmares and daily reminders, then another victim comes into the picture. Does Hope tell what happened to her or keep it a secret ?

When her childhood friend comes clean and tells everyone she is pregnant with Lucas's baby, Hope is extremely worried and troubled. With everyday that passes after Lucas death more things come about. Now some family members are looking for stolen money, they seem to think kidnapping and blackmailing Hope will bring it to light. . . . . . Will Hope tell what really happened to her ??

This is a true page turner at its best ! Drake keep me guessing till the end. I felt so bad for Hope, she seemed trapped in her nightmares with no one to help her. Great read with this little warning, don't start reading it late at night! Why ? because you will have to finish it before you can put it down ! ! Its full of family secrets and some scary skeletons in the closet.

5 suspenseful stars !"

Kathryn Svendsen

"Hope Wellman narrates her present day story with flashbacks to her past that help to explain her feelings of anxiety and fear today. Hope was sexually abused as a child and this has caused her a myriad a problems as an adult. She has not told anyone of the abuse and therefore has not dealt with the problem and the resulting consequences. The perpetrator has not been brought to justice.

This book deals with a difficult subject. A few scenes deal with the actual sexual encounters but the events have been described in such a way that the encounters are not graphic in detail. The book has been thoughtfully and sensitively written so that those who have encountered abuse themselves might be able to read the book without causing flashbacks. The book can be rated as clean in the area of graphic sexual content.

I found Three Rules to be very captivating for its mystery and suspense. Hope attended the funeral of her stepfather's brother Lucas at the beginning of the book. He is the man she holds responsible for the abuse she suffered. But there is no body in the coffin because his body was not found after the boating accident. And now she feels as though she is being watched. Could he be alive?

There are many twists and turns in the plot in this book. Each one will keep you wondering what will happen next. I wondered why Hope didn't report the abuse years ago, but perhaps that's part of the cycle of the abuse - the fear of not being believed.

I thought that Three Rules was very sensitively written when it came to the issue of sexual abuse. The topic was well handled and a lot of good information was given in story format. The Three Rules at the end of the novel were an excellent summation of rules to live by when it comes to any kind of abuse.

A couple of times I found the dialogue to be a bit awkward and stilted, but overall it tended to flow fairly smoothly and naturally. I enjoyed the romance that blossomed between Hope and Joey. I liked that it was based on friendship from childhood.

I found Three Rules to be worthy of a rating of 4 stars, but because of the author's superb handling of such a difficult subject (sexual abuse) I have given this novel 5 stars out of 5. I would recommend this book to all readers of mystery and suspense as well as those with an interest in book dealing with sexual abuse. I think Three Rules might be helpful in helping those who have experienced abuse (in any form) to learn how to deal with that abuse.

Thank you to the author for providing this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own."


This was a great book,with a surprising ending! I will definitely read more from this author! I recommended it to my friends and coworkers.

Wendy L. Hines

Three Rules reminded me briefly of Pretty Little Liars - wondering if the bad guy or girl was really dead. Drake kept me guessing pretty much throughout this page-turning suspense, which is what I'm looking for in my reading. I don't care for predictability very much.

Hope has had a tragic life of abuse and wants to move past that part of her life by burying her abuser, but is he really dead? She sees him everywhere she turns and she fears she is losing her mind. With flashbacks to the past, parallel to the present, the reader is given glimpses of a dark journey through different characters, yet with love and hope in the future. The suspense builds through-out and I found the characters easy to relate to without Drake going into too much detail. I was relieved that Drake used the correct prose to get her point across without tugging her reader through an emotional roller coaster. If you enjoy well-written suspense that will keep you up late turning the pages, then pick up Three Rules!

Jay Scully

"Cookie-cutter beginnings and endings don't make the grade in the modern world of fiction. Competition has never been so high. We're all hoping to write the next bestseller.

I present to you "Three Rules."

Meet author Marie Drake, whose ink explodes onto the paper a riveting story about Hope Wellman, a young woman who looks back on a life strewn with heartache. We see right away that this is a troubled soul. The power of the novel is apparent from the beginning, as Hope watches her Uncle Lucas Wellman, who has met an untimely death, being lowered into the ground. She can feel no sympathy for this man. Why? Drake makes it all too clear what has occurred between these two characters. For now, she will hold her secret safe.

We see flashbacks, moments in time, the regressed mind of an eight-year-old girl. "I didn't even feel like a human being worthy of love; I belonged to him. I wanted to crawl under a rock and hope no one noticed me." Early on Drake interposes Hope's past with the present. It is no wonder that she celebrates inwardly at Lucas Wellman's death.

We see a cameo, where Drake reveals Hope's mother's naivete, or, worse, her denial.

We see Joey Bishop, a childhood friend. Drake reveals the passionate innocence of childhood romanticism. Immediately after her first kiss, Hope is met, on the porch, by her Uncle Lucas, who bores his evil stare in her direction.

We move back to the present and see the gathering after the funeral. Drake reveals Karen, Joey's sister, who confides in Hope that "Lucas Wellman is - was the father" of her unborn child.

The plot thickens.

We are brought to a will, where Lucas leaves the family in dismay because he's left everything to charity. Hope learns that no provisions have been made for Karen and the unborn child.

We find ourselves out of the harbor and into the Sound, where Hope's mother confines in her: telling Hope who her real father was and why he is not a part of her life. There are many secrets in this family, we learn.

But we see something in the dark, lurking, waiting to strike our emotional chords.

Is Lucas still alive? It seems to be. Or did Joey possibly kill him? A cufflink with the initials L.W. has surfaced.

At this point nobody knows what to think, which is where I find a well-crafted plot.

Hope, naturally, become paranoid. She thinks somebody is watching her.

Not only this, we learn that Lucas has hurt other girls, one being Jesse Matthews.

But is there something else going on?

"The tension in the house all that time was jealousy over my mother and Lucas, not because my parents had any idea what Lucas was doing to me."

Here I find the complexity growing in crescendo: a Bolero's tempo.

Frederick Bishop enters stage right. He announces that Karen has disappeared. I am led to believe that Lucas may indeed be alive: her knight in shining armor having taken her, or rescued her.

Finally, midway through, we are given release: Hope admits to Joey about her Uncle Lucas.

Does Joey already know this?

Or is this Detective Reynolds, who has kept a watchful eye the whole while, privy to what goes on? Or is it the step-father, Luther, who runs this ring?

Trust me, the red herring, having been dried in the sun by Drake, runs ripe along the trail. Yet, have we been blind-sided by red herring, and, I ask myself, has Drake simply done a magnificent job at foreshadowing?

This was a great book!"

Carly's Book Reviews

"This is one of the most powerfully emotional and genera encompassing books I have ever read!

It isn't a romance; but the unconditional love that Joey has for Hope inspired me to love more deeply.

It isn't a thriller; but the constant twists and turns kept me on the edge of my seat from the very first page.

It isn't a psychological drama; but the mental and emotional impact of long term abuse are flawlessly integrated into Hope's psyche.

It isn't a suspense; but the burning need to know what was really happening, and how the story ended kept me awake long past my bedtime.

In the end, I was wrong on all previous accounts. Three Rules is a romance, a thriller and a drama. It is the story of one woman's will to survive and face her deepest fears in order to find the truth about herself.

It's a story that contains pain, suffering, heartache and betrayal. It made me gasp in horror, thirst for revenge, and cry both tears of sorrow and joy.

If you have never read a story about abuse; read this one. If you don't think it's your cup of tea, try it anyway. The writing is flawless, the character building is complex, and the emotions will leave you stunned.

Marie Drake has a gift for story-weaving that will touch you; and if you happen to have better luck categorizing this genera than I did, you are a better reader than I!

A copy of Three Rules was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review."


"There are books that skillfully handle sensitive topics and there are mysteries that pull things together and totally surprise the reader in the end; rarely are both of these books the same one as is Marie Drake's wonderful Three Rules.

Right from the start I was pulled in, though I was a bit worried about reading the book because of its subject matter. Marie Drake is an amazing writer and makes Hope Wellman someone the reader truly cares about, sympathizes with, admires, but never pities. The reader probably has more faith in Hope than she does herself. Her horrific past has left Hope with lots of doubts and fears, but she is much more mature and ready to handle them than she gives herself credit for in her life.

Besides being a talented writer who makes every page one to turn quickly, Marie Drake also creates fully fleshed out secondary characters and manages to make a highly suspenseful read remain a believable one. What could have been a big problem (having to wrap up many loose threads at the end without making it seem like everything but the kitchen sink had been thrown in) became something even the most jaded mystery reader would not see coming.

I look forward to more fiction from Marie Drake. Deep, well-thought out page turners are hard to come by these days. Three Rules is not only a very sincere and touching read (I love the deep friendship Joey and Hope share) it is an unforgettable one as well."