A review by Nalini Haynes
I have a confession to make. Spin Cycle inspired my love of Ilsa Evans’s writing. And I’ve loved her work ever since. Having said that, somehow I missed several of her books including the Nell Forrest Murder Mysteries and her YA. I have some catching up to do! Anyhoo, I approached The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer with high expectations mixed with trepidation. My concern was that the story might be more Broken than Spin Cycle, but my fears were soon allayed.
Avery Conifer is a little girl living with her father after he used a restraining order to put her mother in jail. Life seems to be spiraling downwards for Avery from there. However, Shirley is a loving involved grandma who visits only to discover Avery at home alone for hours. Her son Daniel punishes her by not visiting and not bringing Avery for visits until he needs a sitter so he can go on a date.
When Shirley baths Avery she finds bruises and a cigarette burn.
Shirley decides to kidnap Avery to blackmail Daniel into moving home so she can look after Avery. However, as a woman of little resolution, she reaches out to Avery’s other grandmother, Beth, to force herself to commit. Shirley’s mother, Winnie, is as sharp as a tack. Winnie pulls some strings so Shirley takes her along for this encounter.
Basically, a great-grandmother, two grandmothers, and a little girl go on the run to keep Avery safe.
Ilsa Evans knocks it out of the park
What could be an awful story is full of hope and healing. Evans blends humor, character conflict and personal development into a highly original and entertaining novel. While I love all 3 elders, Winnie is my absolute favorite. She’s a surprising gem.
The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer is a story not to be missed. Instead of the usual trigger warnings with such material, I’d like to focus on the healing potential of this story. However, some people may need support while reading.
For a full list of Ilsa Evans’s books, go to her website. I may have mentioned Ilsa Evans in this podcast interview of Tabitha Bird. And I put Guardian Angel’s Journal, a book I love and adore but wept my way through, in the same basket as Ilsa Evans’s Broken.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
eBook ISBN: 9781867214038
Paperback ISBN: 9781867214021
eBook ISBN-10: 1867214032
Paperback ISBN-10: 1867214024
Imprint: HQ Fiction AU (HarperCollins Australia)
Category: fiction, Contemporary Women