Title: The Odds of You and Me by Cecilia Galante
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
In the vein of Meg Donohue and Sarah Jio, Cecilia Galante’s second novel delivers the powerful story of one young woman who’s faced with an impossible choice—one that could have her making the biggest mistake of her life.
Thirteen days. That’s all Bernadette, “Bird,” Sincavage has left to go until she’s done with her probation and can be free again. Free from making payments to the supermarket she wrote bad checks to. Free from living at home with her overzealous mother who’s constantly nagging her about attending church again. Free to give her four-year-old son, Angus, the normal life he deserves. Her impending freedom and move to Moon Lake, where she’s plunked down a deposit on a brand new apartment, is so close she can almost taste it. What trouble could she possibly get into in just thirteen days?
But trouble does follow in the form of James Rittenhouse—someone she worked with a few years ago. At first, Bird is stunned to see James make the evening news when he’s arrested for assaulting someone in a local bar. But that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she discovers James hiding out in an abandoned church choir loft. Somehow he escaped police custody, broke his leg, and got his hand on a gun, which he’s now pointing at her.
Although Bird doesn’t tell anyone she saw James, there’s no way she’s helping him. She can’t screw up her probation or her second chance for a new future. And she has her son’s welfare to think about. Still. If only she could stop thinking about the terrified look in James’ eyes and the fact that he’s hurt. If only she could forget that once, long ago, James helped her out, and she owes him a debt like no other.
Will Bird jeopardize her future for someone who helped her out in the past? A past that holds secrets she’s not quite sure she’s ready to face? Or will she turn a blind eye and learn to live with the consequences?
The Odds of You and Me by Cecilia Galante is a compelling novel about a woman caught between doing what is best for herself and her young son and her loyalty to someone from her past.
Bernadette “Bird” Connolly has finally made her final restitution payment and she is making plans for her and her son Angus’s future. Staying out of trouble should not be any problem until her probation ends in two weeks, but when she agrees to run an errand for her mom, she makes a startling discovery that could jeopardize all of her plans. Bird is stunned to find her former co-worker, James Rittenhouse, hiding in the church choir’s loft. James has recently been arrested for a bar fight that left his victim in critical condition and while he en route to jail, he somehow managed to escape. Why would Bird jeopardize everything she has worked for to help someone she has not seen in over five years?
After her beloved father’s death when she was a teenager, Bird lost her faith, hooked up with the wrong crowd and barely graduated from high school. Moving out as soon she graduated, she began working at a local restaurant and entered into an ill-advised relationship with her manager. Her unexpected friendship with James during this tumultuous time is a bright spot that gives Bird reason to hope for a better future. But an unplanned pregnancy turns her world upside down and after Bird is arrested for writing bad checks, she has no choice but to move back in with her mother and work with her cleaning houses. Their relationship remains tense as Bird tries to put her life back together.
Although their time in each other’s life was brief, Bird’s friendship with James was quite meaningful. She knows that she is taking a huge risk by helping him after he escapes from police custody but she is unable to report him to the authorities nor can she turn her back on him. As the two friends become reacquainted, Bird is stunned by James’ revelations about the bar fight that landed him in so much trouble and after learning the truth, she becomes more determined than before to help him. Bird devises an ill-conceived plan to provide James with a safe place to hide while he decides what to do next, but time is not on their side. Is Bird prepared for the consequences if she caught aiding and abetting a fugitive?
The Odds of You and Me by Cecilia Galante is a captivating story of healing for Bird as she is finally comes to terms with her heartbreaking past. Although her decision to help James is initially unfathomable, her reasons become clear as she reflects on their friendship and the events leading up to their final encounter years earlier. Bird’s life is forever altered by the few short, yet meaningful days she spends with James following his escape.
I highly recommend this touching novel to readers of women’s fiction.