Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Happened to Hannah by Mary Kay McComas (TLC Book Tour)

What Happened to Hannah by Mary Kay McComas
William Morrow
ISBN: 978-0062084781
Published Feb 7, 2012
Trade paperback, 352 pages

Twenty years ago, sixteen-year-old Hannah Benson ran away from an abusive home. Now, at thirty-six she has a successful business and has put the past behind her with the help of a loving friend, until Grady Steadman, the boy she once loved, but who is now the town's sheriff calls her to tell her that her mother and sister have died, leaving Hannah the guardian of her fifteen-year-old niece, Anna. Hannah is reluctant to go back to a place that holds painful memories, but once she meets Anna she knows this could be her chance to be a family. However, Hannah holds a terrible secret from the night she ran away and she's afraid of trusting Grady and jeopardizing everything she now holds dear.

It's been awhile it seems since I've read a really good character-driven book. And this one was so satisfying on many levels. It simultaneously brought back memories of my high school days and first love and touched me on the level of a parent raising kids. This book held my interest from beginning to end. McComas knows how to build characters one cares about and could relate to even if our own life circumstances aren't the same.

Although Hannah's story deals with a physically and verbally abusive childhood, it is not overwhelming aspect in the story, but it's the propelling undercurrent that pushes the present story forward. As the story progresses, there are flashbacks to Hannah's past that give us an indication of not only what she suffered but also her strength, her resilience and what she and Grady meant to each other. It filled the story without interruption and I loved reliving how she first fell in love with Grady and how she discovered she could be loved in return.

Although I guessed what Hannah's secret was pretty early on in the story, I still enjoyed how the story unfolded. It was touching, with real, honest characters and a perfect pace. I loved McComas' writing, how she portrayed teenagers, life in a small town, family love and the rekindling of a special young love. It's the story of starting over and the quiet personal triumph of overcoming childhood trauma. I'm happy to have discovered this talented author, and I can't wait to read her next novel.

Note: This book is rated P = profanity (mild), for a few religious expletives and one f-word.
For more reviews, visit the TLC Book Tour page.

You can also tune in on Wednesday, March 14th at 7pm ET as Book Club Girl on Air interviews Mary Kay McComas about What Happened to Hannah.

About the author:
Mary Kay McComas started her writing career twenty-five years ago. To date she’s written twenty-one short contemporary romances and five novellas; What Happened to Hannah is her second novel. She was born in Spokane, Washington, and now lives in a small town in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, three dogs, a cat, and her four children nearby. You can learn more about her books on her Website.

Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: Thanks to HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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