Center Of Gravity, by Laura McNeill, is the gripping and suspenseful story about what seems to be a picture perfect family. At first, Ava Carson believes she has everything she wants. Her husband, widower Mitchell Carson, is attentive and loving. She has adopted his eight year old son, Jack. Ava and Mitchell also have a year old son named Sam. They live in a beautiful house which Mitchell feels befits his station in life. There are signs that something is not right. Mitchell doesn’t want Ava to return to her job as a counselor. He had gone so far as to send in her resignation without her knowledge. Mitchell’s behavior is often unpredictable and when things don’t go his way he becomes incensed. Ava and Jack are careful not to trigger his temper. Ava attributes Mitchell’s bizarre behavior to his stressful job. Unfortunately, there is more at play here than Mitchell’s job. Their relationship begins to deteriorate. Without warning he takes the boys to their new home, which is a sparsely furnished apartment, and he files for divorce and custody. Understandably, Ava is shocked and their sons are traumatized. What follows is heart wrenching. Ava hires the new attorney in town, Graham Thomas, to represent her in her plight. What unfolds is shocking.
The story is told in the alternating voices of the characters. Perhaps the most gut wrenching voice is that of Jack’s. His biological mother is dead and he has bonded with Ava. He struggles to believe she is responsible for the rift between her and his father as his father would have him believe. If only he was one of the super-heroes he loves to read about. His devotion to his young brother is touching. All he desires is a return to their former life. Terrified by his father, he tries to keep their new life on an even keel. Ava struggles not to fall apart in this seemingly impossible situation she finds herself in. How did this happen? Ava quickly learns that what little she knows about her husband may be a lie. Even worse, he is most probably a sociopath. She will do whatever she has to do to get her children back because her love for her children is a powerful force. This story is a powerful reminder of this. As much as Mitchell Carson personifies evil on so many levels, it pales in comparison to the strengths of Ava and Jack.
The author is a gifted story teller. She has crafted a story that draws the reader into the lives of the well drawn characters. The plot is filled with suspense and tension runs high. The story is so well told that the reader is captivated from start to finish. I highly recommend reading this powerful novel.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.