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Review: The Final Piece by Maggi Myers

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The Final Piece
Author: Maggi Myers 
Release Date: Nov. 15, 2012
Publisher: self-published
ISBN: 978-1480055544
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction
Format(s): Paperback (312 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds
About the book:
Elizabeth Bradshaw has spent her life picking up the the pieces of her delicate past and hiding them. Her secrecy has worked until the day Beth receives word that her only confidant, Tommy, has been killed. Devastated, she leaves her new life behind to embark on a pilgrimage home for Tommy’s funeral. When faced, yet again, with more pieces to pick up and pack away, Beth begins to question the choice to keep everyone in life at arm’s length. As Beth reconnects with Ryan, Tommy’s nephew, she begins a journey that will unearth her secrecy and teach her grace, love and forgiveness.
What VampBards talking about:
The Final Piece, debut novel by Maggi Myers, contains a little bit of everything.  Even though Ms. Myers works with a substantial amount of material, she manages to remain true to her story throughout.  As a reader, I was drawn in by the beautiful descriptions provided for and by the main characters.  We saw the point-of-view shift between Beth and Ryan a few times throughout the story, and it was neither awkward nor distracting.  
I knew before picking up this title that Ms. Myers would be writing about some sensitive topics.  She deals with child molestation and rape in a substantial, thoughtful, and compassionate manner.    If The Final Piece had only this sensitive material, I would recommend an older young adult audience.  Ms. Myers brings to the forefront the process of healing from childhood atrocities.  Later in the title, after Beth has graduated college, we see some explicit love-making scenes.  This raises the rating to Mature Audiences for me.  
The Final Piece needed at least one more editing drive-by to catch a few errors in usage and mechanics.  I also noted a couple plot inconsistencies that could use some tidying-up.  This would be the H.S. English teacher side piping in, and it did tarnish the reading experience for me a tad, lowering my rating by at least ½ star.  
Beth is one of the strongest female main characters that I have read in a long time.  Beginning the story when she is a teen, we watch Beth grow up and move on with her life.  After being a child of using parents, Beth is forced to reconcile herself with her parents’ behavior.  Unfortunately, due to her parents’ misbegotten attention to their friends and drugs, they ignored the fact that they trusted the wrong people.  Beth, challenged with honestly accepting their mistake and not allowing blame to fall upon herself, is pretty much ripped from the safety of her grandparents’ home and the only adults she has ever truly trusted with her safety.  As Beth grows up, it is evident that she continues to have issues from her childhood abuse.  She struggles to have open, meaningful relationships with those around her, leaving this reader with the impression that Beth was going through the motions of life; she was in superficial mode, not ever working on the difficult things life drops in our laps.  She sweeps them under the rug and refuses to confront them head-on.  Beth also, during her 10-year hiatus from Ryan, Tommy’s nephew, mourns ‘what could have been’, as well as the forceful loss of her innocence during childhood.
Tommy, while not truly a relative of Beth’s, is the heart of the novel.  I found Tommy to be a trustworthy, endearing character that truly loved young Beth.  As a friend of the family – to both her parents – Tommy had always been a part of Beth’s life.  He was so entrenched in Beth’s well-being, happiness and comfort that I suspected that we would learn that Tommy was, in-fact, Beth’s father.  Not so.  Don’t worry.  The story isn’t that convoluted.  As Beth grew, Tommy gave her the wings to move on.  She knew he would always be there for her, but he didn’t hover.  Tragically, Tommy died.  Beth was a basket-case.  She traveled home to pay homage to one of the most influential men in her life.  While Beth mourned, she did remember several poignant moments with Tommy, and that seemed to strengthen her resolve to maintain her emotions…occasionally.  
Ryan is not only Beth’s ‘first love’, but the one person she trusts with who she truly is, at least superficially.  Even through their 10-year separation, Ryan never stops loving Beth.  He compares each girl to Beth, and even seriously dated another Elizabeth for a period of time.  All things came back to Beth.  He also dwelled in the land of ‘what if’ for 10 years.  I thought it was particularly telling that Ryan was the one to comfort Beth when Tommy died.  That was, I’ll have to admit, a mutual comfort thing.  I think of Ryan as a younger version of Tommy, and I think that is initially what allows Beth to open up to him.  
Gram and Pops, as well as Aunt Kristin and Uncle Rob are important secondary characters.  I found Beth’s parents to have a tertiary role, and that they were rather insignificant in the grand scheme.  We also meet three of Beth’s college friends that superficially appear important, but seem to be ‘extras’ to assist in moving the plot.  I did, however, love how each of Myers’ characters were crafted.  I want to sit down for Happy Hour with Cyn and Les.  My kind of peeps.  Uncle Rob – yeah, he can join the party, too.  His ‘observations on life’ seem to be spot-on, as though he were written to be observer when a guest is in the House.    
Over-all, I truly enjoyed Maggi Myers’ debut novel, The Final Piece.  This title is full of heart, soul, emotion, forgiveness, and a little something-something I can’t quite name…but I found myself with that warm, fuzzy, book-coma when I was through.  That’s always a good thing!  I look forward to reading more from Ms. Myers, and hopefully hearing more about Beth and Ryan!
VampBards Rating:
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)


GIVEAWAY: If you’d like a chance to win a SIGNED copy of The Final Piece, look for details at the end of author Maggi Myers’ guest post HERE.

Purchase Info:
The Final Piece
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