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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Trudy by Cynthia Ulmer is Christian fiction and the fourth book in The Cedar Cove Chronicles, preceded by book one, Todd, book two, Clyde and Wanda, and book three, Cella. This installment revolves around the titular character who with her very young son are the victims of violent domestic abuse at the hands of Trudy's husband, Toby's father, Mark. Trudy and Toby's escape is made difficult by the fact that Mark was her sister's boyfriend when they ran off to get married and she has been cut off from the family she now seeks refuge with. Trudy works to recreate a life for herself and her son and rebuild the bridges burned when she left everyone for Mark. However, Mark isn't about to let Trudy go and there's no telling the lengths he will go to find her, and make her pay.
Trudy is a really, really tough book to read because of its subject matter. Cynthia Ulmer is a courageous author in not sugar-coating child and spousal abuse. The transparency employed in its depiction can be jarring, although not in any way gratuitous, which shows the skill she has as an author. Although this is part of a series it reads well as a stand-alone until the end where loose ends are left to carry over into the next book. Fortunately, book five, Mark, is already out and is about none other than 'that' Mark, the antagonist in Trudy. The writing is tight and even though I found some of the scenes veering into the overly voluble, Trudy is almost impossible to put down. It's a gut punch with tension on every page, interspersed momentarily with levity but not at the expense of the main plot. I'm likely to go back to start the series from the beginning but will definitely be reading the next installment. Very highly recommended.