REVIEW: A Man to Rely On by Cindi Myers
Dear Ms. Myers,
This book isn’t sunshine and rainbows. Scott and Marisol have both been forced to take classes in the school of extremely hard knocks. So I’d advise any readers who just want a happy, pep-me-up after a hard day at work to save this for a time when they’re looking for something with a bit more depth. A story with a bite to it.
When I say hard knocks, I mean it. Hard as in accusations of, and being on trial for, murder, methamphetamine addiction and, for Marisol, returning to a town for which she harbors few good memories. In the past few years, both these two have hit rock bottom and had the strength to start again.
Marisol has always kept herself to herself which didn’t make it easy for her growing up as a minority maid’s daughter. When a famous basketball player fell for her and moved her into a life of luxury, it was just one more escape for her. She puts on bravado in public but she has to learn to let someone past the wall the protects herself behind.
I like the fact that Scott is the one who’s always fantasized about a relationship with the glamorous and slightly older Marisol. That he’s the one who stayed in their small Texas hometown while she went off to the big city. But as he found out, drug addiction can find you no matter how small a place you live in and it’s even worse when everyone knows who you are and how far you’ve fallen. I think that Scott’s relationship with his supporting father shows the caliber of man he is despite his physical weakness.
Marisol’s relationship with her daughter is obviously in flux. Though each fiercely loves the other, their time to discuss what happened to their family was breached when Marisol was arrested for her first husband’s death after his life of lies, drug use, gambling debts and adultery surfaced. Toni’s teenage life was turned upside down just when her hormones began to kick in. Plus, what teenage girl hasn’t been embarrassed by her mother even if, as Marisol says, she didn’t do what she did with the intention of ruining her daughter’s life 20 years later?
Marisol asks herself some pertinent questions about her budding relationship with Scott. Is he just someone she’s falling back on in times of crisis? Dare she risk getting involved with a man who, like her dead husband, has a drug problem? Because Scott readily admits that the craving for the high he got from meth is still there, even if he can control it now. The fact that she’s willing to question her need for this relationship makes me more willing to believe in it rather than if she’d just jump head first into it.
I really began to feel good about Scott and Marisol’s future when I could see them sitting quietly, sharing time together and simply enjoying each other’s company outside of any sexual relationship, not that their sex wasn’t hot. And even there you take the time to show them opening themselves to each other, bonding beyond a mere physical release.
However, in all honesty though I appreciate and applaud all the issues you’ve given your characters, you’ve certainly dumped a whole lot on them. But I also like how not everything is tied up in neat little bows by the end of the story. Scott will still have his occasional panic attacks, Marisol will still have to face comments about her previous life and Toni is still working her way around to accepting them as a couple. Life isn’t fluffy kittens and bags of candy but it’s true to the story you’ve written. And no sappy epilogue! Thank you for that.