Center Of Gravity

Center Of Gravity is Laura McNeill's stunning debut novel. Often, I'm nervous about reading an unknown author's debut, because I don't know what to expect, but the description of this one was just too intriguing to pass up! This novel follows Ava Carson, her deranged husband Mitchell, her stepson Jack whom she adopted, and Ava and Mitchell's infant son, Sam. The description reads:

"The truth could cost her everything.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It's temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game? Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem."

The one word I'd use to sum up this book is wow. From the very first page, I was absolutely hooked. Clear your schedule and plan on spending a few hours with this one, because once you pick it up, you won't be putting it down until its stunning, yet satisfying, conclusion. It's written in an alternating first person view - chapters flip between Ava, Mitchell, Jack, Graham (Ava's lawyer), and Lucy (the child psychologist charged with evaluating Jack and Sam for the pending divorce/custody hearing). The way we are able to get inside the head of all the main characters is what truly drives this book. So many times in novels like this, we never are able to really get inside the mind of the "bad guy" - here, we do. I feel like this is the "Gone Girl" of the Christian fiction genre. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller.

My only caution with this book is that is does have several instances of bad language, which seems to be a confusing trend lately in the Christian publishing industry. Also, although this book is published by Thomas Nelson/Zondervan, it truly has basically no Christian or religious element to the story. I'm rather confused by it being published by a Christian publishing house - it's rather baffling, really. The author blurb also makes no reference whatsoever to religion, either. Either way, it's an excellent book. I will definitely be eagerly on the lookout for her next book.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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