A Place Somewhere

A Place Somewhere - R.J. Samuel Alex Hart is a woman on a personal crusade. After completely uprooting her routine accountant's life to move across the ocean for what she thinks is true love, she finds out that the woman doesn't even exist. Deceived, defrauded and shamed, she is unable to return home to face her family and friends. But instead of useless moping or grieving, she has somehow managed to channel all her pain, anger and desire for vengeance into a semi-productive pursuit--sniffing out similar scams for her clients.

But one client wants her to take it one step further. Not only does she want Alex to investigate her daughter's online lover, she also wants Alex to run interference and break them off.

But of course, things don't go according to plan, and Alex finds herself smack in the middle of an impossibly complicated situation.

The plot sounds pretty simple and straightforward, but this is so much more than a lesfic romance. The author explores so many thought-provoking themes I've lost count: the incomprehensible mindlessness behind devastating deception; the vulnerabilty of even the most logical people; the loss of innocence, faith and trust from betrayal; the hopelessness and desperation of people struck down by personal tragedy and/or a failed economy; the healing power of truth, forgiveness and a community that comes together, and so many others--I haven't read a recent book that managed to do all that and still work a good page-turning mystery through it all.

This is not a light read at all. A depressing mood permeates most of the first half of the book--from the lead character's guilt-ridden initial deception (that can't possibly end well no matter what she does) to the tragic consequences of the Irish property bubble that saddled most of the other characters of the book--I honestly almost gave up reading halfway through. But the exuberance of Sasha, the tenacity of Maggie, the innocence and beauty of Breanna and Cynthia, the gradual (and very well paced) development of the romance (both online and in person) made me hang in there and I'm so glad I did, or I would have missed the incredible twist (totally unexpected but very plausible), the gut-wrenching result, and all that angst that makes the ending worth staying up all night to read.

I musn't forget to mention the very effective and powerful use of Irish settings, beautiful or bleak, lush or barren--they're almost like characters in the book.

When I first finished the book, I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about the book's premise that people can be so totally fooled. But a little bit of research on the net showed that what happened to the ladies in the book aren't that farfetched. There's even a name for such schemes: catfishing.

So I'm upgrading my rating to 5 solid stars!