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Review: A Strange Kind of Brave by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Review: A Stranger Kind Of Brave by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

For years, Jake McCormack has held the small town of Clanfedden in a vice-like grip of fear, leaving it a sad and destitute place. But in a bold move, the town council has cancelled the lease on his credit business and put it up for auction. As far as Jake is concerned, there will be hell to pay in Clanfedden.

A vibrant outsider, Ariana Spinelli with memories of the sparkling, joyous place of her youth arrives with her son, Luca in a whirlwind of colour, fearlessness. Before long, her fabulous restaurant and joyous spirit are injecting new life into Clanfedden. But Luca is living under the shadow of a soul-shattering incident in Dublin; one that robbed him of his self-worth and left him longing for a place where he can forget the past. If only it were possible…

Allie Redmond knows better than most how much pleasure Jake McCormack gets from watching people suffer as he destroys their lives. She needs to warn Ariana and Luca…she needs to try. As she befriends Luca and Ariana, Allie begins to forget the sorrow of her past and finds that love and friendship actually have the ultimate power. But Jake isn’t having that…and when disaster strikes, bringing horrific betrayal with it, Allie could lose everything, including her life.

From the very first line, this book wraps the reader in a grasp that will not let go. It hypnotises with words that speak to the heart of us all; words of fear, loss, hopelessness and the joy that is within reach if only we have the courage. Jake McCormack is a quintessential villain with truly evil capacity and compulsion to seek vengeance on any who would cross him. The vehicle of ‘small town life’ demonstrates an understanding of typical human nature. But the lead characters, Allie and Luca hold that resilient, if reckless quality to rise out of complacency; show that “strange kind of courage” that allows for triumph. The pervasive sense throughout of food, not simply as nourishment, but as joy for the soul is a subtle, but inspirational addition, bringing with it a desire to try something new and taking time away from stress and trouble. There is a twist in the end that will leave the reader truly shocked; mouth open, filled with a terrible awe at the cleverness and the maliciousness that has been at work all along. Guaranteed: you will not see it coming. An obsessive read; powerful, heartfelt, shocking and liberating. (11 years +)