4 STARS ****
Bettye Griffin’s newest release is a dark tale of four adults linked by a common tragedy which teaches them more than they care to know about themselves.
Jason and Brent Smith are the products of dysfunctional alcoholic parents. Brent, the youngest, also abuses alcohol, but with the help of his brother and the support of his girlfriend he manages to lick the addiction and stay sober for two years. His sobriety ends abruptly when a bizarre set of circumstances results in him driving under the influence and T-boning another car.
Ashley Mansfield, her sister Joanna West and her niece, Hannah are the unsuspecting occupants of the car smashed by Brent. The accident unites the two families in the emergency room in an adrenaline fueled shouting match between Donald, Joanna’s husband, Ashley and Jason. Once clearer heads prevail, Ashley realizes her outburst was excessive and seeks out Jason to apologize.
What ensues is an enlightening story of two couples realizing they are what each other needs. Like Jason and Brent, Ashley and Joanna are also scarred by the effects of alcoholic parents. As a result, Brent becomes an alcoholic and Joanna masks her residual pain by spending excessively at the detriment of her marriage. Ashley and Jason each sacrificed personal relationships to provide support to their respective siblings. The commonality of the accident and their similar dysfunctional childhoods draw them into a passion-filled relationship that provides the comfort they need to cope with the tragedy.
The characters in A TIME TO HEAL are believable and relatable. The story location of Southeast Wisconsin is also home to the author and explains her familiarity and frequent references to that geographical area. The storyline is unusual and Griffin’s treatment of the consequences of alcoholism is compelling.