Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Book Review: Center of Gravity

The truth could cost her everything.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is wonderful.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town, Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Sara Steven:

I took Center of Gravity to bed with me, figuring I’d read a few pages before getting some sleep. Three hours later, I was finishing the last page of the book. There was no way I could put it down!

A psychological thriller with an undercurrent of romance, Center of Gravity completely threw me off kilter. Although I could feel the imminent danger Ava, the lead character, has found herself in, I didn’t want to believe it. Who wants to believe that their better half cannot be trusted, or would go to such great lengths to cause turmoil and chaos at every turn?

The hardest part for me was putting myself in Ava’s shoes, a mother who wants nothing more than to protect her children. There were many moments of frustration and anguish, moments I wanted to step inside the pages and fix everything. Amidst all of this, we find Ava growing into someone much stronger than she’d ever figure she could be, definitely a bright spot. The other is the incessant need for good, even when everything around us can be tainted with evil, which really helped me find an equilibrium, my own center of gravity.

However, I recommend reading Center of Gravity hours before bedtime, unless you’re ready to pull an all-nighter. Yes, it really is that good!

Melissa Amster:

It's not often that a book makes my pulse race the entire time, but reading Center of Gravity was like skydiving or performing some other high adrenaline activity. I was so anxious for Ava and beyond angry with Mitchell. I had a hard time putting it down to get back to real life, especially knowing that this is real life for some women. I didn't know what would happen next and was on the edge of my seat in suspense the entire time. It was just that intense. Adding to this was Laura McNeill's strong use of detail that allowed me to picture everything that was going on.

The only thing that didn't work was getting to see Mitchell's perspective. While I like seeing what goes through the villain's mind in some books, it was just impossible to feel even a shred of sympathy for him and I just wanted him to shut up so I could go back to what was happening with Ava and Jack instead. However, I would have liked flashback chapters to show what things were like for Mitchell's first wife.

Overall, I couldn't get enough of this book and think that ALL women should read it. It may save someone's life if a person who reads this can pick up warning signs for themselves or help a friend or family member who is going through this kind of situation. I am eagerly awaiting Laura McNeill's next novel, Sister Dear, coming out this spring.

And seeing that this would make for a great movie, here are my casting ideas:
Ava: Rachel McAdams
Mitchell: Richard Burgi
Lucy: Odette Annable
Graham: Peter Sarsgaard

Thanks to Laura McNeill for the book in exchange for an honest review.Check out her movie casting ideas, as well.

3 comments:

Janine said...

This book sounds very interesting. Great reviews too.

Laura McNeill said...

Melissa and Sarah - Thank you so much for the review of Center of Gravity!

The book was a heart-wrenching one to write, as I spoke to dozens of moms about their situations (similar to Ava's), as well as a therapist who specializes in narcissistic personality disorder.

In addition, it's interesting that you bring up the Mitchell sections, Melissa, as they were "IN," then taken "OUT," then a smattering were added back in the last round of revisions.

Loved the character casting as well! SO much fun!!! xoxo, Laura

Laura McNeill said...

Sara - Appreciate the all-nighter. Sending you plenty of Zen thoughts to catch up on your Zzzz's!

xoxo Laura