I received the book mentioned for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A family can be torn apart in an instant. Putting it back together is a harder task.
A relapsed addict opens the door to find a cop with a search warrant, setting off a chain of events that will cause four lives to intersect.
Devin Lenox has already lost one child to the system and this time she vows it will be different. If she’s going to make it, though, she’ll need something she’s never had before- someone on her side.
Her battle with depression behind her, Elisa Cahill looks forward to resuming her legal career. Devin’s case seems like the perfect opportunity to do that, and bury her own past demons in the process, at least if old grudges don’t prove to be her undoing.
Child protection worker Taylor Ross struggles to balance a social life with her demanding job and has little sympathy for people like Devin, at least at first. When Taylor starts to see Devin in a new light, she finds herself at odds with her superiors. Will she be willing to go to bat for Devin, and what price will she pay if she does?
Sarah Canfield is a compassionate judge who is not afraid to make difficult decisions, but will her past link to Devin undermine her objectivity and cause her to put her own family at risk?
A look inside the child welfare system, the people who work in it and the lives it impacts, Aggravated Circumstances is a story of despair, hope and recovery.
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As is pretty typical with me lately, I did not read the synopsis for this book before digging in. That in mind, I will tell you the truth about something. After I read the first chapter, I honestly sat back and was thinking… is she serious?? The author wants me to care about some drugged out mother who put her child at risk? How is that ever going to happen?
Well, this book had so much more to it than just that. Yes, all parts of this story stem from that situation. Devin was a screw-up. She put her child at risk for her own selfish reasons. I am not very sympathetic to people who neglect their kids. Okay, not sympathetic at all is more like it. But, what this book does is show you that someone truly can change. It happens every day in society but, thanks in large part to the evening news, we don’t hear those stories. And I am getting way off course here so I’ll get back to the book. ha!
Devin really was inspiring in this book. The cynical part of me kept waiting for her to screw up again. I didn’t want her to but I was just waiting. I’m a nurse, who used to work for the State of Missouri in the children’s division, and who also worked in a crisis nursery. I’m jaded. I admit it. But, I still held out hope that Devin would do right by her daughter and herself. She truly was able to change her life and it was a really inspiring and beautiful thing.
Taylor had her own set of issues. She was a mess and couldn’t commit to anyone simply because she couldn’t relate to them. RAD is very common among kids in the foster care system. I know a child that has it. The symptoms that the author describes are perfect and Taylor really does show that she has this problem. But, Taylor also shows that she can move on from her past and build a life for herself, a life that includes another person. Her man is a fabulous person and I was so glad to see her happy at the end of this book.
Finally we have Elisa. Depression is a very serious issue and it was nice to see the author approach that. I don’t see that in books very often and hitting real-life problems was a key reason I enjoyed this book. It was real, it was believable. Anyway, Elisa was an interesting character for me. I didn’t feel we really had a grasp of what her “issue” was until late in the book. I found her to be an eternal optimist and that was a nice thing to see, although difficult to imagine in a lawyer. It was great to see her work through her depression and learn to live her life in a way that is healthy for herself and her family.
All three characters really spoke to me in this book. I classified it as contemporary fiction. They was some romance involved but this is not a romance novel, per se. While hitting on some big problems in our society, the author goes out on a limb and really takes a chance. I think she did a fantastic job and I really did enjoy this book. Did I care about Devin in the end? Yes, I really did. I wanted her to succeed. I wanted her to get better. I wanted her to be with her daughter and I wanted her to be happy. In my opinion, the author did something pretty remarkable in making me care about this character. But, the truth is, she made me care about them all and that is even more remarkable.
I gave this book 4 stars. I truly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to others. If you are looking for a break from romance novels or need something outside your normal genre, this is the book to grab. It will get your attention and make you doubt first impressions… at least that is what it did for me.
I hear the sound of a baby crying, but I can’t tell where it’s coming from. Is it close? Far? I open my eyes and glance around the room. Everything is hazy, out of focus. That’s the thing about the rush. It’s never long enough, and once it fades, you just feel… well, you’re just sort of there.
It starts with the nausea. That only lasts a few seconds. Any longer, and the allure wouldn’t be as great, but the rush is so powerful that five seconds of nausea is a small price to pay to get there.
Someone once described the rush as feeling like a thousand orgasms. I didn’t believe them until I tried it myself. Then I thought they understated it.
It’s not long enough, though. Ten, twenty minutes at most, followed by jelly.
That’s where I am now. My arms feel like jelly. My legs are heavy, like they’re attached to cement blocks.
I hear another cry and I try to get up, but the cement wins. I slump back against the couch.
I don’t know if it’s minutes or hours before the pounding penetrates my haze. As it gets louder, I realize it’s knocking. I try again to pull myself up, and this time my legs aren’t so leaden. I drag myself to the door and pull it open.
At the sound of my name, I nod, but my neck feels heavy, too.
“Officer Hunter, Concord PD.” He flashes a badge and thrusts a piece of paper at me. “I have a search warrant.”
About the author
Michele Shriver currently lives in Iowa, by way of Texas and is proud to call both states ‘home,’ which sometimes means poking fun at them, but always in the nicest way possible.
Michele is a practicing attorney, with emphasis in family and juvenile law, who dreams of someday paying the bills as a writer and being a recovering attorney. If that happens, you’ll find her spending winters in Dallas taking in as many Dallas Stars hockey games as possible.
When not working or writing, Michele is probably at Zumba class, riding her bike, watching a hockey, football or soccer game on TV or enjoying a glass of Chardonnay on the patio while reading a good book written by someone else.