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In Too Deep by Bea Davenport

In Too Deep

by Bea Davenport

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In Too Deep by Bea Davenport is a Legend Press publication and was released in the summer of 2013. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Maura and Nick live in the small town of Dowerby. Things are underway for the annual Dowerby Fair. One of the traditions of the fair is a medieval tradition that only women are subject to and that is a dunking booth. Nick is very involved in the planning of the fair. Maura is offended by the dunking but she is just blown off by the committee.
When a young, attractive reporter, Kim Carter, moves to town, she turns Maura and Nick's conventional life on it's ear.
Maura who has never connected with the people in Dowerby, makes an instant friend out of Kim. The two of them couldn't be more different. But, Kim sees the reality of Maura's life better than Maura. Kim helps Maura get a job and begins helping to advance herself.
Maura is also the mother of a young daughter and is beginning to have a very strained marriage. Her time with Kim is most fun she sees in life.

But, Kim is not all that popular in Dowerby. She is too open minded, to unconventional, too attractive, too outspoken and too career minded. Even Maura has a hard time with Kim's lifestyle and attitudes at times.
But, when life is really looking up for Kim, a terrible thing happens and Maura feels responsible and also feels like she could be in danger. There are people, including her husband, who do not want Maura telling her side of the story.
Maura feels as though she has no choice but to go into hiding, leaving her daughter behind.

Now five years after the events in Doweby, a reporter has found Maura. Once more she finds her life turned around.

Told from Maura's point of view, we alternate between the past and the present as she tell how she met Kim, got a job, her marriage issues, and the Dowerby fair. We then fast forward to current events and Maura deals with being found by Paul, a reporter that claims to have new information that could help Maura reunite with her daughter, Rose. But does she dare trust him? Could he lead Nick to her? Was it really possible that she could be a mother to Rose again?

The writing style is very unique in this novel. The author manages to build suspense at a slow pace that keeps you turning pages, impatient to find out how Maura's life came to this point and what has her feeling so guilty and so afraid.
The witch dunking is an actual event in fairs and this tradition was based in fact. Issues such as domestic violence, small town prejudices and politics are examined. If not for these barbaric traditions and the judgments passed by the folks of Dowerby, the events that led to this terrible tragedy would never have taken place.
Thankfully, Kim's influence on Maura was long lasting and Maura could have a second chance at a productive life and career.
I really enjoyed this book. It was difficult to read some of the passages regarding domestic violence, but I loved the slow build of suspense and the way Maura finally blossoms. Maura's transformation would never have happened if not for the friendship she nurtured with Kim. While Kim was not always the most moral person, she was the best thing that ever happened to Maura. It appears that Maura also makes some new friends that will be there for her in the future.
Overall this a good solid A. ( )
  gpangel | Oct 7, 2013 |
Maura was one of those wallflowers: colorful enough to be sometimes noticeable, but most of the time so inconspicuous as to vanish into the bigger design of life on the wall, unless someone made the effort to take a closer look. Someone like her narcissistic husband, Nick.

Growing up, in school: "I (Maura) had the misfortune of being acceptable but not particular popular. I think, in a way, this is worse than being totally alone and rejected. You can see what you are let in on and what you're excluded from, what you're invited to and what was only for a more select group. You can be part only of some conversations, but listen to others without understanding them fully. You're the one left out when numbers are tight and you have no idea why. So at school I had friends, of a sort, but none that I really trusted or who trusted me, although I longed to be important enough to be taken into someone's confidence." She would experience the same in her adopted town Dowerby.

As an already married woman with a young daughter, Maura met Kim. She was her first real friend whom she could trust and who changed her outlook on life in many ways. Kim opened up a world of exciting possibilities to her, which she grabbed onto with everything she had. There was just one problem: the Dowerby town did not find comfort in the feisty, free-spirited new journalist in their midst. They did not appreciate Kim's nosy questions about town management and people's private lives, especially not those of the council members. Suddenly there was someone who did not flinch in rocking their safe little wooden boxes in which they flourished on corruption, mismanagement, greed, unfaithfulness, hypocrisy and fraud. Kim knew how to send the wood chips flying everywhere. The only box they would not allow to be shattered was the ancient-old dunking-chair of the Dowerby Fair.

"Everyday Kim said something kind, which I took home with me and thought over, and knew I was lucky." Kim would also expose the poisoned chalice in her life - one that Maura never would have identified on her own and even denied existed. She taught her daughter to become a people-pleaser like herself to safeguard herself.
But then Kim, the person who taught her to re-evaluate her own life, believes, self-image, unexpectedly died. The circumstances in which it happened, necessitated Maura to leave her daughter, as well as husband, and flee her old life to start a new life somewhere else under a different name...

For five years she got away with it, until a journalist tracked her down and forced her to confront her past and face her own truths.

The book does not only charm, engross and pull the reader into the story, it also contains beautiful prose like this: " Even the lipstick-coloured roses that filled most people’s gardens in Dowerby couldn’t cheer up the scenery..."

This is an excellent debut novel. Constant suspense in a fully developed plot. The weather becomes an effective tool, and not a pathetic phallacy, in the fast flowing tale of betrayal, love, intrigue, friendship and justice. A riveting drama. ( )
  Margitte123 | Sep 30, 2013 |
What's that? First review for this book? How lucky I am!

This was a great read.

When I think crime, I don't think summer read. But I've read this whole book in the sun in my garden. It works. The setting is great and I could picture Dowerby perfectly. Although I knew it was set somewhere inspired by Alnwick and other Northern market towns, I was picturing Dowery just like that anyway, and would have regardless.

Maura was a rather frustrating character. She was in a poisonous relationship with her husband, and my, what a dick he was! Men like Nick deserve to die a very slow and painful death and I'm very glad of how the end turned out. Kim was great - glamorous and sassy she was just what Dowerby needed. And she wasn't afraid, not until the very end - and anyone would have been terrified then.

I feel sorry for Rosie in all of this and don't understand why she didn't say anything at nursery - isn't that the kind of thing a child would mention? Daddy made mummy cry? But then again, Dowerby's the kind of place this wouldn't have been taken further.

I loved the conflict between the characters and I loved the setting. I liked a lot of what the book had to say but resented some things.

Having attended an event with the author and hearing her talk of the book, I really want to know what the strand of romance was that she had had to edit out! I look forward to reading more of her adult offerings - and perhaps her young adult if they are published? ( )
  Corazie | Jul 25, 2013 |
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Five years ago Maura fled her life and took on a new identity, desperately trying to piece her life back together and escape the dark clouds that plagued her past. But then a reporter tracks her down, and persuades her to tell her story, putting her own life in danger once again. Layer upon layer of violence and deceit make up the full picture for Maura to see and the reporter to reveal. Hidden secrets are uncovered that have been left to settle, for far too long. But in life some things can't be left unsaid, and eventually the truth will out, whatever the consequences.… (more)

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