When her husband's alcohol and gambling addictions spiral out of control, one woman must decide if staying or leaving is best for her family.
Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters. Women's ministry leader and Seattle housewife Alice Goddard and her successful graphic-designer husband Trent appear to have it all together. Then their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?
Breaking Free is a gripping look at a marriage on the rocks. It's not easy to read—Trent is incredibly unlikable for 90% of the novel, and sometimes Alice isn't much better—but it provides what seems to be an accurate depiction of addiction. (I say "seems to be" because, only by the grace of God, I don't have first-hand knowledge of addiction. But what is portrayed on the pages of this novel certainly feels realistic.)
Breaking Free is written both from both Alice's and Trent's perspectives. I appreciated this because I found myself easily identifying with Alice (even though her actions were sometimes maddening), so a novel written solely from her perspective would have had me 100% in her camp, cheering for her to wash her hands of Trent. Viewing events from Trent's perspective allowed me to have a better understanding of his desperation, even when I wasn't sympathizing with him. I don't want to give anything away, but Trent's journey became much more compelling as the novel neared its conclusion.
I ached for Alice as she lost everything, and I rejoiced with her when she found the beginnings of a new life. I hated that she didn't feel able to share her struggles with anyone, though it wasn't surprising—so often we feel the need to put on a "perfect" Christian front, and that's the trap that Alice fell into. While I did think that things wrapped up a little too neatly at the end and didn't stay consistent with what we knew of Alice throughout the novel, overall, Breaking Free was a gripping, thought-provoking novel, dealing with weighty issues that are too often swept under the rug. 4 stars.
Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Slattery's Intertwined (3 stars) and When Dawn Breaks (4 stars).
Jennifer Slattery writes missional romance novels for New Hope Publishers. Her debut, Beyond I Do, released in August 2014. She also writes Christian Living articles for Crosswalk.com and devotions for her personal blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud; Internet Cafe Devotions; and Takin' it to the Streets', a ministry serving Omaha Metro's working poor and homeless.
When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, hanging out at the mall with her teenage daughter, enjoying her real-life hero husband, or serving in her church or community.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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