REVIEW: Turning the Tides by Nell Castle
Ever the black sheep of her adoptive family, Lee Cooper has finally buckled down to a responsible job as a social worker in Southwest Florida. Defending her client against charges of child abuse awakens buried memories of her own abandonment in a Korean orphanage. Can she remain objective for the sake of a child?
Bricker Kilbourn, the court-appointed guardian, doubts Lee’s judgments–and his opinion might determine the little boy’s fate. He’s got his own family issues and haunting secrets to keep. Falling for a woman is not part of his plan.
He’s running from his past. She’s searching for answers. Will their resolution to protect a child bind them together or wrench them apart?
Dear Ms. Castle,
Communication is always touted as critical in any relationship but here, it’s paramount to everyone’s. Wrong first impressions left uncorrected, actions done to protect loved ones, lies told for self-gain – there’s all kinds of issues swirling around in the South Florida heat of the Keys. Lee has ended up in a social worker job due to her psychology degree and no clear idea of the path in life she wants to go down. Her overachieving adoptive family have always pushed her to be practical whereas her main love has been her art. Bricker plays the easy going slacker while deflecting the general opinion of his small town about his actions ten years ago. His family have also lived with the pain not only of what he did but what he’s let himself drift away from after such a promising future lay ahead of him.
Lee might have thought she could cope with her most pressing case – that of a young child who might or might not be being abused by his young mother – herself also a victim of abuse. But after six months of working with Amber, things are getting worse for the young mother and it’s causing Lee flashbacks to her own unresolved feelings of being abandoned in a Korean orphanage at the age of two. Now Lee wonders if she can be objective about her client when everything in her is telling her that Amber and her son deserve a chance together while everyone else is telling her that Amber is an unfit mother.
Bricker might think that Lee doesn’t remember meeting him the first time but neither that nor their next encounter give her positive thoughts about a man she thinks is a smooth playboy. He doesn’t correct her impression of him as Mr. Bartender rather than telling her of his work as a guardian ad litem or that he passed the bar exam – the law one – before giving it all up. Their meetings always seem to end in snapping and lost tempers but then they’re still not really talking about what matters.
Lee pushes herself to get past her feelings about Bricker and discovers someone who seems thoughtful and dedicated to his job of protecting young children. Children can see past BS and Bricker instantly bonds with Amber’s son. Bricker respects Lee’s dedication to her client and her passionate defense of Amber makes Bricker take a second look at the situation. Lee stirs something in Bricker as well – an real interest in a woman after years of hiding behind one night stands and tourists. But Lee’s got a history of running from anything deep in a relationship and Bricker’s unused to actually showing that he cares so the friction and fireworks keep flaring up as these two try and discern what they really feel. They also have work to do in facing and trying to fix family situations that have been festering for years. Are their family members well-meaning but just clueless about how to handle issues or are they contributing – however unwittingly – to keeping Lee and Bricker from resolving the things keeping them from happiness in their own lives or in someone else’s.
Lee and Bricker stumble and make mistakes about themselves and each other. Trying to fit in or protect those close to them has left them denying what they want in life. It takes awhile before all the secrets are out and dealt with and yes, sometimes it takes a few efforts before everything is finally out in the open and settled. But once all lines of communication were finally working, I feel good about their future happiness and their family relationships too. B