Title: Familiar Ground
Author: Michelle Lynn
Release Date: May 17, 2014
ad·dic·tion noun ə-ˈdik-shən, a-
: a strong and harmful need to regularly have something or do something
: an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something
Leah and Adam have never met.
However, they live parallel lives.
Lives plagued by addiction.
When a tragic, but common demon, surfaces between their siblings, Leah and Adam’s worlds collide, never to be the same again.
Adam loses his sister forever.
Leah’s brother returns.
Both gain a niece, neither knew existed.
Now they face an obstacle to raise a niece together while Leah’s brother struggles to free himself from the grip of drug addiction, and as Adam’s family grieves for the sister and daughter they lost.
A commonality is discovered.
Deep wounds begin to heal.
Lines blur as their lives entwine.
Hmm, I'm debating whether I can get away with submitting a review that simply says "Read this book! Read this book! Read this book! Read this book!" Just a few paragraphs of that. Maybe in different languages, to keep it interesting? Ha, I know! I'll do like those pictures you see on Facebook all the time and hide a slightly different word or sentence in there, just to see who is paying attention. I'll get into why below but basically what I'm trying to say is that Familiar Ground is a good book. A great book. An awesome book. And you if you read it, I'm pretty sure you'll agree with me.
When her brother shows up on her doorstep for the first time in months, Leah Thomas assumes he's there for the same thing that always brings him back into her life. Money to support his drug habit. This time, however, it's something different. After years of abuse, Shane has finally decided to clean up his act. The reason? His three year old daughter, Dani. The little girl has just lost her mother to drugs and he doesn't want her to lose her father too. Leah didn't even know the toddler existed, yet now she's responsible for her. For Adam McAllister, news of his sister's death from a drug overdose is heartbreaking but not wholly unexpected. What is unexpected is the sweet baby girl she left behind. While Shane struggles to overcome his addiction, Leah and Adam are left to take care their shared niece and in doing so, find themselves becoming closer. Their lives become entwined by more that just Dani - in each other, they find someone that understands the grip of addiction, the pain of seeing a loved one waste away and the fear that those they love can be taken too soon.
It takes a special talent to write a book about a harrowing subject like drug addiction and loss and make it touching and affecting but not depressing. Michelle Lynn has done that. Familiar Ground covers both the fear and pain of losing someone but makes it about the connection between the two people who are experiencing it, rather than the actual event. Blended with the terror is a healthy (and much needed) dose of hope. Little Dani, the innocent child caught up in the bad decisions of her parents, represents that hope. She brings two broken families together. She's the bridge between Leah and Adam and she's all the more beautiful because of it. The love they share for her, their desire to see her whole and settled is a genuine link between them. From that foundation their story grows and it feels like a natural progression. The conclusion of the book (I can't get into it without spoilers but it's a little suspenseful) had the potential to be melodramatic but I think it works. The little pinch of tension keeps the story from becoming too neat. And it allowed for some light-hearted moments that solidify the new connections between this formerly fractured family. This book moved me without breaking me - no ugly crying here, just a few gentle tears and some reflection on how differently one's life could turn out. In case I haven't made it clear, what I'm saying is, please read this book. Read this book! Read this book! Read this book!
This is a standalone book, no cliffhanger.
~ Review by Beth
Michelle moved around the Midwest most of her life, transferring from school to school before settling down in the outskirts of Chicago ten years ago, where she now resides with her husband and two kids. She developed a love of reading at a young age, which helped lay the foundation for her passion to write. With the encouragement of her family, she finally sat down and wrote one of the many stories that have been floating around in her head. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can be found playing with her kids, talking to her mom on the phone, or hanging out with her family and friends. But after chasing around twin preschoolers all day, she always cherishes her relaxation time after putting the kids to bed.