Wells tells the story of a woman attempting to overcome a traumatic past to find love in this debut novel.
As a teenager, Christina McIntyre was the victim of a horrific gang rape during a high school football game. The boys responsible were apprehended and sent to prison, but the experience made the notion of a romantic relationship all but unthinkable. Years later, Tina’s parents were killed in a plane crash, leaving her with a $30 million fortune paid out by the high school, the boys’ families, and the airline—money that she refuses to touch because of the tragedies it represents for her. “I was now beyond wealthy but had lost all that had meant the most to me: my parents, the ownership of my body, and my peace of mind.” Now a successful businesswoman, Tina meets Clifford Stinson, the construction manager for the new headquarters being built for Tina’s company. Clifford is handsome, kind, and understanding, and Tina wonders if he might be the Prince Charming who will finally free her from her old fears and help her find the joy she craves. But just as Tina acclimates to love, two unexpected events shake up her life: a mysterious bombing of the building Clifford oversees and the reappearance, after many years, of James Payne, the ringleader of the rapists, finally out of prison and looking for revenge. Wells’ prose is workmanlike and functional, though she relies a bit heavily on expositional narration instead of revealing information during a scene. The characters are fairly one-dimensional, and the plot is over-the-top ridiculous, but the author plays it straight and manages to keep the reader (mostly) turning pages. For those willing to suspend their disbelief, Wells’ novel is oddly compelling. By framing Tina’s journey as an external action story rather than an internal psychological trauma tale, Wells gives the reader heroes and villains to root for and a chance at a conclusive ending. A realistic account of recovery, it is not. As a bit of escapism, however, the book delivers.
An outlandish but entertaining romance about an executive’s search for happiness.