Monday, February 06, 2012
A Perfect 10:
A Perfect 10
Clearfield, Virginia - The Present
Her high school boy friend, Grady Steadman, calls Hannah Benson to tell her that her mother has died. Hanna hasn't communicated with anyone in her home since she ran away twenty years ago. She thought no one knew her whereabouts, but she definitely doesn't want to go home. However, Grady tells her that Ruby, her sister, also passed away five years ago leaving Hannah's fifteen-year-old niece Anna in need of a home.
A successful insurance agent owning her own agency, Hannah escaped family abuse and homelessness. Before she left, most of her classmates made fun of her but knew not to anger Hannah. She protected herself and Ruby, earning a reputation for her quick temper and ability to win fights. The night before her mother murdered him, her father beat Hannah after learning she had kissed Grady. Hannah went missing, and most residents in Clearfield believed her dead. After Grady's call, she reluctantly returns home to meet her niece. Anna turns out to be a beautiful, well-mannered, smart, and thoughtful girl who is also a star member of the track team. Hannah can't believe her mother raised Anna. How could she show such love to Anna, but not to her own daughter? In spite of this, the last two family members bond with one another.
Grady discovered Hannah's location three years previously, but had never had the nerve to contact her. He is the sheriff of Clearwater , a divorced man with two teenage children. His daughter is Anna's best friend, and his son is interested in dating Anna. He still loves Hannah, but he knows from experience she is hiding a deep, dark secret. He won't let her take her niece back to Baltimore until he knows that secret is no threat to Anna.
This story kept me reading all night. Grady and Hannah, Anna, and Grady's mom and children are wonderful characters full of goodness and conflict. The details in WHAT HAPPENED TO HANNAH are horrific, as all child abuse is, but compelling reading. Their childhood destroyed her sister, and nearly destroyed Hannah. Her escape and fortitude speak to her moral fiber. Clearfield perfectly represents all of our communities where such things still happen. Author Mary Kay McComas writes a poignant story about Hannah's escape with rich characterizations, a recognizable setting, teasing dialogue that lightens the mood, and both shocking and touching action, earning WHAT HAPPENED TO HANNAH a Perfect 10.
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