Kristin Wallace is an exceptional writer. I read “Imagine That (Covington Falls Chronicles) Book 3” in one afternoon — cover-to-cover — without stopping. I carried my eReader into the bathroom with me, and I propped it up on the drier as I folded laundry. I loved the story. I was ready to give it a 5 star review right up until the last page. I suppose I will probably give it a five star review anyway since Amazon won’t allow me to give it a half star less, but the ending left me feeling decidedly uneasy. Things were brushed aside that should have been more closely examined.
You have probably read hundreds of stories, but even so, I bet you’ve yet to read the exact same story that an author wrote. No, I am not talking about the demands of editors and copywriters who insist on changes for this, that, or any other reason. Every reader — and writer — brings his or her own personal experiences and/or biases to a story. Every single person on this planet acts and reacts to everyone and everything else through their own personal set of filters. In every review I have read about Imagine That, the reviewer has said the book moved them to both tears and laughter. My experience was the same. The emotions portrayed in this book are wrenchingly real, both the good and the bad.
Imagine That alludes to memories of domestic violence. Thankfully the reader is not subjected to the violence, but for those of us who have lived with domestic abuse (which can be physical and/or mental), a memory is all it takes to trigger real fear. Logically, as a mentally healthy, healed adult (and a writer) I can understand that after the main characters finally confessed their love for one another, Wallace wanted to tie the story up with a neat bow and get to the “happily ever after,” but I think this story’s happily-ever-after promise came at least one necessary conversation too soon.
Nate, our hero, definitely shows the potential to become an abuser. He also voluntarily takes steps to deal with his anger issues before he ever comes close to harming anyone. Those are very great signs of hope, but if Nate and Emily were real people the way this book ended would leave me with serious concerns for the future of their relationship. Emily’s own childhood taught her to expect abuse. Would she be able to recognize the gradual onset if Nate did slowly give in to his darker nature? I have good reason to suspect she wouldn’t since when Nate does try to talk to her about his feelings, she tells him he isn’t his grandfather or his father, so they have nothing to worry about. They DO have something to worry about. Nate knew that, that’s why he sought counseling — and now he has fallen in love with an enabler. Bad, bad, bad news.
If you don’t have any of my baggage, go ahead and read the novel. As I said, it is a wonderful page turner right up until that one little, tiny hiccup on the last page.
*I was given a free copy of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.