Author: Fleur McDonald
Fleur McDonald is an accomplished Australian author of rural romance and suspense novels, The Missing Pieces of Us is a big deviation from her usual genre.
The premise for this story grabbed me and I have loved the other books I have read by McDonald so I knew that this was a book I wanted to read. The subject matter is quite painful to read at times but I still found this to be a very light and easy read, I had to keep reading because I always wanted to know what was around the next chapter.
I have a teenaged daughter so the amount of books I have read lately featuring girls her age and the predicaments they get themselves in scare me, I’m not afraid to admit it; to tell the truth I am also scared by the thought of me as a teen and the stories of teens around me. Basically having a teenaged daughter terrifies me.
There are three main female characters in The Missing Pieces of Us; Lauren Ramsey, her fourteen year old daughter Skye and Tamara Thompson.
Lauren and Skye have a pretty rocky relationship and it’s only getting worse. Lauren is a teacher who is determined never to let a child fall through the cracks in the system and she is concerned for one of the children in her kindy class, when she really should be focusing a lot closer to home. The thing about that is sometimes it’s hard to focus close to home, even when you know you need to, if you are being completely shut out and have no idea how to make an impression that will let you back in.
Skye is a pretty average fourteen year old I think and nothing she went through really shocked me, these were all things that broke my heart for her and that turned my stomach at the thought of them happening to my daughter but they didn’t surprise me. These things happen, and they happen regularly. They horrify me and make me wish I could protect girls from all of this, and ban them from social media, but it just isn’t possible. On top of all the things going on at school she is dealing with some pretty tough breaks at home as well and they affect her judgement enough to encourage her to make bad decisions. All pretty standard for people her age really.
Tamara is the manager of a local clothes shop and she reaches out to help when Skye gets herself in trouble. She too was a troubled teen and if it wasn’t for someone reaching out to her who knows where she would be, now it’s her turn to do the same. Tamara’s troubled childhood has left her scarred and is still affecting all her relationships. She has been working hard to get through her baggage and form healthy relationships and just when things seem perfect the past comes forward and slaps her back down again.
I quite liked these characters and I have to admit it was definitely Skye that touched me the deepest. Lauren and Tamara are interesting characters but they weren’t explored as deeply as they could have been.
The storyline was interesting and quite different from a lot of what’s out there at the moment. A lot of what was happening was pretty easy to predict but there were a few surprises that I wasn’t expecting.
Some elements tied up a little too neatly and some coincidences were a little too serendipitous but I still took great enjoyment from this story and I think if McDonald is going to explore this genre her knack for suspenseful storytelling and strong characters will shine through.
The trials Skye faces make me worry for my teen and cross everything that I’ve taught her well enough not to find herself in situations like this, and glad that her phone usage is monitored.
All in all this was a beautiful story of family, of love and of finding that sense of belonging. A story that demonstrates how freeing the truth can be, even when you worry about how painful it might be.
The Missing Pieces of Us is book #13 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.