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Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg
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Past Perfect Life (2019)

by Elizabeth Eulberg

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Ally Smith has a great life. She loves living in Valley Falls, Wisconsin. She has a close circle of friends and has been adopted into the Gleason clan who run the town. A Gleason is the Sheriff. A Gleason owns the Hardware Store. A Gleason owns the local garage.

She and her dad were welcomed with open arms when they arrived eight years earlier. It has been just the two of them for all of the life that Ally remembers. Ally's dad is her best friend. They have a wonderful relationship with many rituals and family traditions. Ally is number one in her class and looking forward to going to college at nearby University of Wisconsin-Green Bay if she can only get through the college admission essays. What is a significant event anyway?

Things start to go wrong when she submits her college applications and they are bounced back because of an invalid Social Security number. A visit to the school's guidance councilor sets massive changes in motion. A visit from the Sheriff and the FBI puts the icing on an unwanted cake. Ally Smith isn't Ally Smith. She was kidnapped by her dad when she was three-years-old and they have been on the run since. Her mother didn't die of cancer. In fact, she has been searching for her daughter Amanda for fifteen years and living her life around the hunt from impassioned pleas on television to the annual march in Tampa to keep her memory alive.

Ally has the foundations of her world shaken. She loved her father even though he made a terrible mistake by taking her. She doesn't know her mother or her mother's new husband and daughter. But her mother is determined to bring Ally home to Florida. She wants Ally to be the daughter that she envisioned during all the missing years.

This is a story of a strong young woman who was raised to be a confident young woman and who is now thrown into a situation where she knows no one and has no control over her own life. She's angry at her dad but she is equally angry at this woman who is trying to erase all the of Ally's past.

I could certainly understand Ally's mother's side and can imagine the heartbreak losing a child would bring. But I still didn't really like the woman who didn't want to see who Ally was and who seemed only concerned with what she wanted. I liked the resolution of the story though thought it was rather a quick turnaround for Ally's mother. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jun 4, 2019 |
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For my very own crew of boisterous cousins, who prove that---when it comes to families---bigger can be better. The Gleasons have nothing on you all.
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I don't...
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