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Black Widow: Forever Red
Margaret Stohl
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Don't Breathe a Word: A Novel
Jennifer McMahon
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The Fifth Stage

The Fifth Stage - Margaret A. Helms Product Description from Amazon
“Claire Blevins is approaching her fortieth birthday, and is on her own for the first time in her adult life. She muddles through her daily routines, her only respite coming in the form of a harmless crush on Rebecca Greenway.

Claire believes that the sexy restaurant manager is safely unavailable. But when Rebecca shows signs of interest, Claire's past unravels, revealing an immeasurable love and a dark secret.”


I honestly can’t tell you what made me put this book in my reading queue, it might have been a sale item and I decided what the heck I’ll give it a try. I’m also not sure that the product description does this book justice. The story is more complex than the blurb would imply although that is often the case.

In present day, Claire is almost 40 years old and living a shadow of a life because of the emotional scar left by her “ex”. The story moves back and forth between current day and Claire’s past, telling her story and how she’s become the person she is today as well as the person she could be if she is willing to take the emotional risk.

If I am honest during the first 5 – 10 chapters I found the movement between the past and current story lines confusing. As the reader I understood the premise that the past was leading to what happened but for me I felt that the flow from one to the other was sometimes difficult to follow. As the past and the present converged I obviously found those transitions less confusing and it made the book more engaging. That being said, this was an interesting and heartfelt story of love, loss, and yes love.
I would certainly read something else by Margaret Helms which is a pretty good endorsement.