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on April 12, 2012 :
A modern-day fairytale with hints of Cinderella, Charmaine Gordon’s Reconstructing Charlie is definitely uplifting if not entirely believable. Coming from an abusive home, Charlie Costigan is suddenly thrust into wealth and riches when her mother sends her away to previously unknown relatives in Chicago. But these relatives are rich, kind, wise and wonderful. Their servants are sweet-tempered and fun. And their home and lifestyle remind me of a previous century or perhaps Batman, which shows how little I know of upper-class America
Charlie proves well able to build on the dreams of her relatives. A world-class athlete, genius student, quick-witted, nimble and, underneath it all, unassailably kind, she works her way through high school, deals with boy troubles, gets a scholarship and enters the world of business and finance through sheer determination and the magic of money and intelligence combined. Through it all, she maintains a sincere concern for those who might suffer as she did. But perhaps the strongest scenes are those giving first and final glimpses of Charlie’s mother. An amazing opening scene starts with Charlie’s confession “I killed my father”—the book’s worth reading just for this scene. And a powerful sense of closure is found when Charlie meets her mother again near the end. In between is the story of teenager Charlie, reconstructing herself in riches from the rags of an abusive past.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.
(reviewed long after purchase)