Need You Now, a novel by Beth Wiseman. If you've not read my review of Part One, you can do so here.
The first half of Need You Now left me feeling as if the storyline hadn't been set in stone yet. In some ways, that's off-putting to me, but in some ways I guess one could consider it good because of the "what's-going-to-happen-next" thoughts. However, the story felt too up in the air for me at the halfway mark, so I was a bit concerned for the second half of the book.
The second half continued to develop, though, and during the last 20 percent or so a climax quickly resulted. (I think the climax was a little too fast-paced.) The story included a struggle with Layla that I hadn't anticipated, and I felt that Beth did a great job with that portion of the story. (I like surprises.)
Darlene, stay-at-home-mom and her husband Brad continued with their marital struggle. Darlene misunderstood a phone conversation Brad had with another woman which caused her to act on an emotion that she shouldn't have. Feelings of guilt resulted, which compounded all of the other things going on in her life at that time. Her oldest daughter Grace was recovering from her issues with cutting, and her husband worked long hours. But it took an unfortunate accident to right the family's situation.
I've been an avid reader of Beth's Amish fiction, and Beth's breakaway from that mold to write a more contemporary novel was a fair transition, I feel. However, at times the conversations felt unreal or forced. I also felt that there were a whole lot of large issues that didn't get good fleshing. Grace's cutting problems seemed too easily resolved, as did the kissing episode with Dave. Ansley's character, I felt, could have easily been left out because she had little part in the story. I didn't feel a connection with the characters like I normally do, and when I saw I was at the last page of the book, I didn't have a feeling of "resolution". As beautifully as the last page was written, it felt disjointed.
I will praise Beth, though, on her writing of Darlene's job with Cara, the autistic child. I felt that that was well-written and Cara's character was sufficiently captured. Beth captured some very interesting ideals though (teen issues such as cutting, issues with infidelity, childhood and spousal loss, etc.), and I wish that these things would have been more developed. She could have easily made this one book into three or four or perhaps into a much larger series, encapsulating Layla's story, Dave's story and Darlene's. Perhaps Beth can still do that. I would enjoy a more developed story of these characters--I really think they've got super duper potential!! Flesh them out some more, Beth--I'd like to see these people in the future. ;)
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