Rachel Ann Nunes is something of an icon in LDS writing. Author of over twenty-nine novels, including the well known Ariana series, Nunes has broached a broad variety of subject matter and settings in her books. In Flying Home, Nunes’ main character flies home to India to confront her past. The Ariana series is begun in France, and The Independence Club deals with the lives and loves of five very different single women.
Rachel’s newest novel coming out in April 2010, Imprints, deals with a heroine who can read the emotional imprints left on treasured objects and uses this paranormal gift to try and help find missing loved ones.
I recently had the opportunity to read Saving Madeline, published in September 2009 by Shadow Mountain. Saving Madeline was inspired by the huge problem of young children being raised in and around the dangerous world of drug abuse.
On her website, Nunes’ explains the issue like this:
“States seem to be losing the battle against methamphetamine addiction. Child welfare, law enforcement, substance abuse, and treatment systems are overloaded. Some estimate that over 8.3 million children in the United States live with a parent who has a substance abuse issue. Nearly 2 million child abuse cases each year are investigated and a half million of those have enough evidence to act on. Some 200,000 children are removed from their homes each year.
But what about the cases that aren’t proven? What about the children who fall through the cracks, but are still at risk? To what lengths might a non-custodial parent be compelled to go in order to protect a child from danger?”
Saving Madeline tells the story of Parker Hathaway , a non-custodial father who fears for the life of his four-year-old daughter. Her mother and her mother’s boyfriend are heavily into drug use and sales, but smart enough to keep their activities below the radar of the local police. In frustration, Parker makes a daring attempt to kidnap his daughter, but is eventually caught, and his daughter returned to her mother.
Caitlin McLoughin is a public defender, who’s getting tired of defending the bad guys. Assigned to Hathaway, she is hesitant to believe that his concerns have any truth. But as she investigates the situation it soon becomes clear that young Madeline’s life may very well be in danger if something isn’t done soon.
This story combines a strong love story aspect with a very well written and suspenseful plot and the pace was fast enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. Nunes’ creates characters that are interesting with unusual aspects and quirks. And although this is a book that an LDS reader would be comfortable reading, it does not overtly mention the church itself or its teachings.
For those readers who like the excitement of mystery with the romance of love discovered, you won’t be disappointed in Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes.