Book Review: Ties that Bind, C.J. Darlington
Book Blurb: Newly released from prison, Brynn Taylor is determined to find her father; a man she’s never met. Her only clue to his whereabouts is the address she finds in a rare volume of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility which he inscribed to her years ago. Armed with a bus ticket, a backpack, and her grandfather’s gun, her search leads her to Elk Valley, Colorado where her plans and her life begin to unravel.
Brynn, a young homeless woman, hits bottom when she losses her mother and her friends. She searches for a father she’s never met to fulfill a request from her dying mother.
Ties that Bind Quote: Brynn turned away, her second-hand sneakers silently carrying her across the parking lot away from the huddle. Their happiness swirled around her, a slicing reminder there were no welcoming arms for her.
C.J. Darlington does a marvelous job of taking the reader through one woman’s search for family. I became riveted from page one and was right there when Brynn stepped into the outside and onto freedom.
Ties that Bind Quote: Ruth set down her coffee cup and slipped off her sweater. Before Brynn could stop her, she draped it over her back. “I’m plenty warm, chica.” It was a kind gesture from a sweet, old woman who was cutting her a break she didn’t deserve. Brynn felt her throat tighten.
I was there soaking up the ranch setting, where an old woman met Brynn at the door. The kind woman would bring Brynn closer to finding out about her father—and even so much more than she could have imagined.
Ties that Bind Quote: Brynn picked up a copy of Anne of Green Gables. The cover was green with a picture of Anne on the front. She ran her fingers over the illustration. The artist had rendered a much older girl than the eleven-year-old she knew readers would meet in the book’s opening pages.
C.J. Darlington’s writing kept me turning pages through a middle that did not sag, but a middle that gave me a plank to cross with an eagerness to keep reading. I loved that the author taught us in a storytelling style about classic books, and their value on various levels. Especially that Brynn finds her niche working in such a bookstore and that I, the reader, got to learn something I never knew before.
Ties that Bind Quote: Only then did she see the flames. Far off in the distance they flickered, and human forms came into view, too. “What is this?” Brynn asked. He laughed. “You need to relax.”
Ties that Bind is about loss, longing for home, second chances—and even third chances. Brynn toys with temptation. Again. She moves in the wrong direction, and her decisions had my heart pumping faster. Come on, Brynn, don’t do it, I thought.
Ties that Bind Quote: Brynn raised her face to the blue sky. A soft wind blew her hair into her face, and strands stuck to her forehead. She hoped God would forgive her.
When Brynn is at her very lowest, feeling she has let everyone down, the last temptation is far worse. My heart grieved over Brynn’s intentions. I knew all too well what may be going through her mind, and I held my breath as I continued reading. And the author pulled it off. This one scene was a real test—I’ve lived it.
Another great book I’m glad I read in 2014, I’m delighted to have discovered C.J. Darlington’s Ties that Bind. I believe, you won’t be disappointed, dear reader, if you place yourself within Brynn’s story. If you like good writing and storytelling, ranches in modern times, and young single women who struggle with wrong choices, this book is for you.
Until next time . . . read books where God inspires and encourages