One Breath Away
by Heather Gudenkauf
by Heather Gudenkauf
- File Size: 470 KB
- Print Length: 375 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: B008CK8XXG
- Publisher: Mira; Original edition (June 26, 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0080GUZDS
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
In her most emotionally charged novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered.
In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.
Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.
As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.
This is certainly an engaging thriller although not quite what I expected. This suspenseful tale is presented from the rotating viewpoint of five characters: Augie, Holly, Will, Evelyn and Meg.
A strange man has walked into the Broken Branch elementary school with a gun and is holding a classroom hostage. No one really knows where the danger exists and most are too frightened to make an escape especially since their teachers are enforcing the lock down rule of staying in their own rooms.
Augie is a 13 year old ‘tough’ girl who is anxious to protect her younger brother, P.J. A terrible accident put their mother, Holly, in the hospital and the children have been transplanted to live with the maternal grandparents they have never met. What can Augie do to protect P.J. from the terror of the situation, especially when she discovers that it is his classroom that the kidnapper has taken hostage?
As Holly floats in and out of the pain medication she recalls why she was so eager to leave the hard life of the farm. She wonders if her children will fare all right with her parents. Then she receives a muffled phone call from Augie that has her panicking. What can she do to help her children when she is thousands of miles away in a hospital?
Will never understood why Holly left home without a word and made no contact for fifteen years. What did he do or fail to do? He wants to build a good relationship with his grandchildren, Augie and P.J.. But first, how can he help get them safely out of this school crisis?
Evelyn has always loved her third grade students just as her own children. Why must her last few weeks before retirement be spoiled by a gunman threatening her young charges? She is prepared to die to protect them even as she imagines the kind and sensible things her husband would say to her.
Meg is a local police officer who has had to push her way to gain respect. Her own daughter would be in the third grade classroom except she is spending the day with her father, Meg’s ex-husband. Meg is trying to figure out the best way to keep everyone safe in this explosive situation while she struggles to figure out what man in town might do something so cruel.
Through the life antidotes for each character Ms. Gudenkauf weaves the connected relationships and exposes human emotions and different thought processes. I did appreciate this interesting technique and acknowledge how the author portrays the difference it makes when one steps outside of a relationship and views circumstances from another’s perspective. The writing is strong and clear. I suppose I prefer fast action suspense novels but I think any reader who enjoys emotional drama would enjoy this presentation as it weaves the characters lives, past and present, until the madman is revealed.
In the scheme of the world, in this day, the life of one cow and her calves didn’t mater much, not in comparison to the live of his grandchildren and daughter in-law. Location 2601.
I saw this book on several other blogs and it caught my attention. I appreciated receiving the opportunity to review it from Harlequin, Mira Division, through NetGalley.This story is set in Broken Branch, Iowa for the Where Are You Reading Challenge. I will also add it to my New Author and Suspense challenges.