Thursday, 22 August 2013

Losing It All by Marsha Cornelius

Vietnam veteran Frank Barnes has forged a life for himself on the streets of Atlanta. It’s not easy; meals from charities, collecting cans for change and living homeless, but he has friends and routines and it beats his time spent at war. 

Chloe Roberts has just been evicted with her two young children Ethan and Katie. She is suddenly plunged into a world of shelters, employment worries and untrustworthy people around her.

The unlikely pair meet at a soup kitchen, and as fate hands one of them a break and the other more despair, each could be the answer to the other one’s problems. Straight away I liked Frank’s character. A genuine guy who despite his own difficulties is friendly, caring and pretty much an all round hero. I liked him more and more as the story went on. I didn't like Chloe so much but given the ordeals she goes through you can hardly blame her for being the way she is. 

This story was a slow burner for me, as you are introduced to the characters, their hardships and the scenes are set. Once Frank and Chloe are reunited after a brief separation, their blossoming relationship, in spite of everything that happens to them, is compelling to read about. I found myself routing for the couple to make it through. The prose is detailed and steeped in realism, with thoroughly thought out characters and a serious storyline. I also enjoyed the settings which moved from hostile streets and grim shelters, to stables and countryside.

If you like your novels to be all rainbows and sunshine and riding off into a heart-shaped sunset then this is not the book for you. If you like gritty stories fraught with ups as well as downs, and you like the gist of what you have read here then I recommend you give Losing It All a chance.