Pearl, a married 30-year-old convenience store worker, longs for
change and excitement. Believing she can find it in the purchase of a
Mustang, she soon learns that her co-worker, Austin, a recent college
graduate, offers the thrill she's missed out on. When
circumstances force the two apart, Pearl faces the difficult decision of
repairing her marriage, thereby staying true to her religious beliefs,
or disrupting her entire life to explore something life-changing.
There are many ways that this story endeared itself to me. At first, it's the main character Pearl starting off in such tragic circumstances that I couldn't help but feel compelled to keep reading. Then its watching her as she wakes up to just how bad things really are and realizes that she might actually deserve to be happy. Finally, with the support of out-of-town co-worker and love interest Austin, she finds the strength to change things, and starts her climb out of the miserable life she's just let happen around her.
I'll also throw in that was happy to see that Pearl was believably thirty and this wasn't another story centered around teenage or young adult angst. Believe it or not, that by itself makes this title more genuine. Not because I'm in my early thirties, but because it makes what Pearl needs to do that much more difficult and meaningful.
But be aware: A handful of reviews out there seem to be deducting points from this title for being too predictable. To those reviewers, and the army of skeptics who would believe them, yes, the general story line here is predictable. However, it needs to be asked if this is, in fact, a bad spot for Pearl to be. I would argue that if the book had gone any other way that the title wouldn't be worth reading. Not because of bad writing (which it isn't) or poor character design (not that either) but because the message would have been absolutely heinous for anything but a horror novel.
Bottom Line: Pearl is a quick read and showcases the author's ability to tell an inspiring story but it doesn't really break any new ground. That said, I can safely recommend this title to anyone whose looking for an easy, Hallmark after school special, kind of read. Personally, I'm interested to see what Malory Thomas does next.
*In the spirit of full transparency, the author provided me with a copy of this title for review.