Life is full of hard knocks. There can absolutely be no doubt about that! It will throw unexpected “curveballs” at everyone and hammer us without mercy.  Since this is inevitable, the question then becomes, how do you cope with such setbacks?  What can you possibly do?  In The Hand That Holds Mine by author Jennifer Loren, we are able to see such an escape plan put into motion.  A quick read which is a good choice for those readers who are looking to escape reality for a little while!

Essentially, the story follows the trials of the main character, Adeline Beal.  She is a struggling author, who through persistence and hard work has finally reached a mainstream reading audience.  However, in the middle of her skyrocketing popularity, she is hit with a cruel life blow.  Adeline is diagnosed with cancer and her time left on this Earth is quickly coming to an end.  In the midst of this unbearable pain, Adeline must contend with an ex-husband who is secretly planning to get all the rights to her books when she passes.  Also, she has a doting friend who is bound and determined to put her into a group care home.  Everything is crumbling fast, and all Adeline wants to do is finish her latest writing masterpiece before she passes.

Just when things appear to be at their darkest, Adeline is given an unexpected lifeline.  Past characters from her books have materialized in order to help her get through this hardship.  When her hero reaches out and holds her hand, Adeline feels no pain.  Pure peace and tranquility.  Be that as it may, can all this really be happening?  Or is it all just a cruel trick being played upon a fading mind.  The very future of Adeline depends upon the answer to that question.

I found the plot of this story to be quite intriguing and unique.  The concept of a struggling writer who suddenly makes it big appeals to me.  Then to get struck down…only to rise again… is clever and inspirational writing.  I was engaged throughout this short read.  Bringing the characters to life in order to rescue Adeline did have the potential to go off track.  The possibility of looking disingenuous and far-fetched was very real.  However, the author’s flowing prose made it all seem quite authentic.  I suppose the only issue I had with the plot was that I would like to have seen more of it.  The whole story just seemed to end too soon for me personally.

There can be little doubt that the plot of this story steals the show.  It is unique and engaging.  That being said, it is backed up fairly well by a whole slew of characters.  Obviously, we have Adeline who produces empathy and respect in the reader.  She is an underdog who we can root for!  In contrast to her is the greedy ex-husband and doting best friend, Deb.  Both of these characters are realistic, albeit quite annoying at times.  The players whom I seemed to have the most difficulty identifying with were the characters from Adeline’s novels who came to life.  I was not able to get a solid grasp of them.  Perhaps, once again, if the story had been a bit longer then they could have been developed in more depth.

Overall, I quite enjoyed The Hand That Holds Mine.  It was a thought-provoking and well-written quick read which had me engaged throughout.

3 out of 5 Loving Stars for this one!