Jun 25 2013 8:30am

First Look: Emilie Richards’s Somewhere Between Luck and Trust (June 25, 2013)

Somewhere Between Luck and Trust by Emilie RichardsEmilie Richards
Somewhere Between Luck and Trust
MIRA / June 25, 2013 / $14.99 print, $8.49 digital

Christy Haviland served eight months in prison, giving birth behind bars to the child of the man who put her there and might yet destroy her. Now she's free again, but what does that mean? As smart as she is, a learning disability has kept her from learning to read. And that's the least of her hurdles.

Georgia Ferguson, talented educator, receives a mysterious charm bracelet that may help her find the mother who abandoned her at birth. Does she want to follow the clues, and if she does, can reticent Georgia reach out for help along the way?

Both women are standing at a crossroads, a place where unlikely unions can be formed. A place where two very different women might bridge the gap between generations and education, and together make tough choices.

Somewhere between the townships called Luck and Trust, at a mountain cabin known as the Goddess House, two very different women may even, if they dare, find common ground and friendship.

Is there an author that you will follow wherever they lead? For me, Emilie Richards is one of those authors. Typically I treat bittersweet books like they are Africanized bees, but Ms. Richards, with her background as a family counselor, has an amazing heartfelt way of showcasing complex authentic current social issues with intricate character growth that make her books irresistible. Her stories resonant with me long after I close the book.

Somewhere Between Luck and Trust is the second book in Ms. Richard’s Goddesses Anonymous series. And while it can be read as a stand-alone, the first book, is just as moving and enriching as this one. This is a series you will savor.

Taylor Hale, Georgia Ferguson, and her daughter Samantha, Reverend Analiese Wagnor, and Harmony Stoddard are the trustees of a small property located between the townships of Luck and Trust. Their duties are to utilize the house to help other women.

As a preacher’s child, Cristy was never able to live up to her parent’s expectations. Miserable in school and unable to keep up with her school work, she yearns for acceptance. Drawn to other misfits like herself she reluctantly shoplifts an inexpensive item—a requirement to join their club—only to get caught and arrested. After she drops out of school, her parents kick her out. But she has a bit of luck when she finds a job at Betsy’s Bouquets, and Betsy lets her live in the little house behind the business. Life is good until she naively falls prey to Jackson Ford’s charm. That mistake costs her not only her job and her child but also her freedom.

After she tells Jackson that she is pregnant, he insists they go shopping for engagement rings, but he sets her up, planting a ring in her bag. With her record, no one believes her and she is sent to prison. After spending eight months in prison, she is released. And surprisingly, a woman she barely knows offers her a place to stay. Cristy is grateful, but she doesn’t understand why Samantha is doing this but she is just waiting for the other shoe to fall, because that is all she has known.

She was out of prison now. She had paid her so-called debt to the citizens of the great state of North Carolina, but she was still the loser she had always been, only this time, she was a loser with a baby she was afraid to see.

Right now a real life seemed as unattainable as a pardon. She had no high school diploma, no skills except floral design, no money except what a kind young woman had given her. She would scour the immediate are for a job but even if such a thing existed, she was still an ex-con, a felon who had tried to steal a diamond ring. What business would feel confident allowing her to operate a cash register or work on a sales floor?

After Samantha meets Cristy through her job teaching a prenatal class at North Carolina Correctional Institute for Women, she believes Cristy is deserving of their support. Samantha, rebellious and wild during her teenage years, can’t help but think “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Her mother Georgia doesn’t understand Samantha’s motivation. Her first impression of Cristy is not extremely favorable. Cristy seems like all other convicts, insistent that she was wrong imprisoned, unwilling to accept responsibility for her actions. When Samantha, who has reasons to believe that Cristy can’t read, asks her mother for help, Georgina can’t help but ask:

Georgina asked the question that most puzzled her. “What did you see in this girl that convinced you to help her? You told all of us the facts, but I don’t think you ever got down to the heart of it.”

Samantha laughed softly. “Nothing like a mother.”

“It might help me decide.”

Samantha hesitated, then she rested her hands on her mother’s knee. "I saw me. I looked into Cristy’s eyes and I saw a girl at the crossroads, just the way I stood at the same crossroads in my own life after I ran that car into the ditch. The feeling, the impact –they’re not something you ever forget. And I’ll tell you truthfully, I didn’t necessarily see that in the eyes of the other inmates I taught. But I sure saw it in hers.”

Georgia is a firm believer in second chances, and even third and fourth chances. And she not afraid to accept a challenge. That is why she is now the principal at Buncombe County Alternative School and dealing with students like Dawson Nedley, a brilliant boy filled with anger:

To look at him, anyone would think the boy’s fury was about to boil over into something destructive. Today no one who walked through school doors anywhere had forgotten the lessons of Columbine.

Along with the challenge of breaking through Cristy's reserve, and Dawson’s anger, Georgina has her own mystery to solve. Forty nine years ago, she was born prematurely, wrapped in a University of Georgia sweatshirt and left to die in the sink of rarely used hospital bathroom. The media had a field day, naming her the Sweatshirt Baby. Of course the authorities tried to find out who left her there with no success. Now a clipping of the news articles and charm bracelet have shown up in Georgia’s office. Is someone trying to send her a message about her birth? Maybe the time is right for her to do a little investigation herself. And who better to help then Lucas Ramsey, an investigative journalist and Nathan’s concerned neighbor.

“The woman who was supposed to care probably didn’t and the ones who had no reason to, did. I learned something valuable about reaching out to other people, not out of duty but out of love. And I savor that.”

“It sounds like you’ve really come to terms with your unusual beginning.”

She toyed with her pasta a moment, then she looked up. “Maybe not as much as I thought I had.”

You don’t want to miss the imaginative, touching story of Georgia, Lucas, Cristy and Dawson in Somewhere Between Luck and Trust.

Learn more about or order a copy of Somewhere Between Luck and Trust by Emilie Richards, out today:

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Leigh Davis, Blogger

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kathryn@bookdate
I am a great fan of Emilie Richards books, at present I am reading her first one in this series and have ordered the second. I buy the paperback because her books are keepers for me. So looking forward to reading this one.
2. scarlettleigh
Ms. Richards just creates such interesting characters, and unique conflicts. I hope you enjoy this book too.
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