Mary Flinn (2014)
Reviewed by Nicollette Violante for Reader Views (01/15)
“Breaking Out” by Mary Flinn details the life of Dr. Susannah Brody, a twice remarried, divorcee and widow. She is the best dermatologist in the little border town of Magnolia in South Carolina, and she finds herself completely alone. Her first husband, Kent, cheated on her during their marriage and now he is dating her sister, and her second husband, the love of her life, passed away a few years before the events of the novel. Susannah’s only son, Myers, is about to go to college and Susannah feels helpless, and her life empty and without a purpose. Suddenly, a month before Myers starts college, Susannah’s friend’s daughter goes missing and she is suddenly thrown into the investigation with the attractive and fit detective Chase. Susannah gets the feeling that Myers might be hiding something and wrestles with her feelings of loneliness, grief, and now romantic interest for Chase as she attempts to live her life “day by day.
“Breaking Out” is narrated from Susannah’s point of view and she is an incredibly likeable protagonist. All of Flinn’s characters are easy to empathize with, are realistic and whole, neither completely good nor completely bad. All of the characters (minus one) grow and develop throughout the course of the novel. Flinn is an excellent writer with grammar, prose, and description; I really felt like I was there in the quaint town of Magnolia, meeting and interacting with all of the people. Flinn also has excellent pacing, nothing excessively dramatic and not dropping bombs one after the other, nor unnecessarily twisting the plot where it does not need to be twisted.
I highly recommend “Breaking Out” by Mary Flinn to anyone who identifies with grief and loneliness, the romantic novel enthusiast, and anyone who needs inspiration in “breaking out” on their own and living a life full of happiness.