Once, We Were Stolen

Rated 5.00/5 based on 2 reviews
Once, Violet and Ben Wrigley were stolen. The siblings discover what it takes to find love in desolation, to seek beauty in everyday ugliness, and to battle emotions for a man they struggle to hate. As their time together passes, the Wrigleys learn that their keeper is as much a captive as they are, and wonder if the three of them will ever break free.

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About Courtney Symons

Courtney Symons lives in Ottawa, Ont. where she works as a journalist. Her work has been published in various print and online media including the Ottawa Business Journal, the West Carleton Review, Metro Ottawa and The Landowner.
She writes non-fiction all day and comes home to write fiction at night. This is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneySymons or @OnceWeWreStolen and on Facebook at Once, We Were Stolen. Visit her website at www.courtneysymons.com (a work in progress) and learn more about her at www.about.me/courtneysymons.

Reviews

Review by: fishma on March 25, 2013 :
An interesting read. I definitely had trouble putting it down once I had started reading!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kristin Ireland on Jan. 29, 2013 :
Once, We Were Stolen grabbed me from the very beginning and didn't let go. I found myself counting down the minutes to nap time, hoping for some undisturbed reading time. And as I neared the end I couldn't put it down until I saw the story to its surprising conclusion. I finished the book with my sleeves drenched in tears and my heart racing.

It is the story of three characters, a small boy, his teenage sister, and their kidnapper. Set in the Northern Ontario town of Blind River, Ben and Violet Wrigley are held captive after offering a harmless looking stranger a ride home. "The siblings discover what it takes to find love in desolation, to seek beauty in everyday ugliness, and to battle emotions for a man they struggle to hate." I read this teaser on the digital book jacket and found the premise doubtful. I took it as a personal challenge. I dare you to keep hating this man. I was skeptical of her ability to make me feel otherwise. And for much of the book I won that bet. As a mom, the story made me squirm as I imagined the horror of my son being stolen. But, ultimately, I struggled to hate the kidnapper, Jeremy Ridgeroy, as much as the siblings did.

Symons has created characters that are as flawed as they are compelling. But beyond getting wrapped up in their individual stories and predicament I also found that I couldn't help but consider the ways that we, as human beings, relate to one another more broadly. What does it mean to be held captive? And what are the chains, imagined or tangible, that hold us where we are? How do we differentiate the emotions of love and hate, freedom and captivity, desire and disgust? And what happens when those seemingly steadfast lines become blurred?
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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