For those who didn’t start Rita Stradling’s novellas when they were being released one at a time you are in luck because the complete series of 6 novellas are all published and ready for you to dive into. It’s kind of like waiting until a TV Show hits Netflix and you can binge the whole thing at once instead of being tormented by waiting for the next part in the story to trickle in a little bit at a time.
The complete arch is a refreshing tale of how to move on and if you break it into small pieces then the process not only becomes easier but you find extraordinary beauty along the way.
I’ve had good success with Stradling’s works so far and this series does not disappoint. She always creates really interesting characters who feel realistic and full of depth. They start to feel like real people you want to invest your time in and the way she writes you begin to melt into her stories almost becoming one of her characters. The characters in this series are no different particularly the way she adds a layer of complexity to the human drama unfolding.
Her plot line is more like a slow burn as she stretches the psychological impact of the stages of grief, mourning and needing to rebuild over the course of these books. The main character Jamie sort of stopped living after her husband died and I think that’s something we can all relate to in various ways. There’s plenty of tension, mystery, friendship and love along the way to keep your interest.
What really drew me in though was the main character having a special needs child since I have two. I thought she did a remarkable job showing more of the realities behind the happiness and challenges that come with having a child that needs a little extra TLC compared to others. As a parent it’s difficult enough when you have to put your focus on your child(ren) instead of yourself when you’re going through major life changes but when your child needs even more of your time and attention in comparison then how you handle both their needs and your own becomes a tightrope act which Stradling showed.
The author depicted quite well the need to find that time to grieve, let your defenses down and focus on yourself regardless of how strong you are which is something we can all understand. Using a format where the reader goes on this journey with the main character through the 14 Day Detox allows you to feel you’re a part of the story, maybe even pick up some life lessons to apply in reality. Her conversationalist dialogue and in-depth character development aids in that feeling you’re walking next to Jamie instead of being on the outside observing.
By the end of Volume 6 all the loose strings will have been tied up, not always in a predictable manner which should help your attention from wavering. Anticipation, passion, conflict and plenty of twists all the way to the end will keep the boredom away. The flashbacks further aid in creating a complete picture to understand the motivations of the characters which will add another layer to the story to fill in any holes from the previous installments. It’s impossible to not feel your heart and emotions connect with her characters by the end as she masterfully demonstrates the importance of moving on from the past in order to find a healthy future.
When you read the last word on the last page you will have gone through an exquisite, electrifying journey that provides a suitable conclusion.