Happy Monday post! I’m totally not behind on review copies; why would you think that??
Disclaimer: Finding Me, by Kathryn Cushman, is a review copy provided by Bethany House (Baker Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.
All her life, Kelli Huddleston has been told the story of a fire—a fire that killed her mother and two siblings when she was an infant. After her father’s death, though, she uncovers evidence of a different story, including clippings about a boat accident that killed a young father and his infant daughter. And Kelli quietly realizes the story of her life has been a fiction. Armed with only a few pictures of what she thinks might be her family, Kelli crosses the country to Tennessee, determined to uncover the truth about what happened over twenty years ago in a small southern town. When the trip threatens to open doors to the past better left shut, and her plans for the future are jeopardized, Kelli is faced with an agonizing choice that will change her life forever.
Finding Me tries hard to be a compelling “secrets of the past” suspense novel, and it does succeed partially in that regard. A lot more time is spent on Kelli’s coming-to-terms with the situation, which I suppose is what Cushman intended, but I do wish that the overall secret didn’t turn out to seem quite so weak. I half-expected something bigger to come along, but nothing ever did, which was a bit of a let-down.
For the most part, though, I thought everything—plot, characters, and setting—was handled decently well. It wasn’t the greatest or most complex plot, but it was told well and Kelli, at least, had some noticeable development. A lot of the characters seemed a bit too cardboard, and I saw no reason for the small romance between Shane and Kelli, but as I said, it was decent and pretty much what I expected: nothing spectacular, but nothing too terrible.
However, towards the end of the book, the dialogue begins to get incredibly cheesy and hard to read. Beth’s dialogue, in particular, sounds stale, and nobody’s reactions to Kelli’s identity seemed authentic and integrated enough to affect me. In other words, I was too distracted by the description of Allison’s reaction to Kelli to really be “in the moment” with her. Basically, Cushman tells too much and doesn’t show enough, and it’s particularly noticeable at the end of the novel when the situation screams “show me!” and instead there’s an unsatisfying “tell me!” instead.
So, Finding Me, while never going beyond “decent,” does handle what it has well, although the expectation of “there’s going to be something more” is never fulfilled, and a lot of the dialogue is cheesy, especially at the end. Also, Cushman does too much telling and not enough showing, and nothing in the book really stands out in any way.
My rating: 2/5
Genre: Realistic, Christian
You can buy this here: Finding Me