Monday, October 6, 2014

Second Best by Charmaine Pauls

  Rated 4.5 STARS

Molly van Aswegen  is a troubled young woman who is not very social or communicative.  She has been released from a government industrial school for delinquent girls and is trying to find her way in the world.  She thinks she has it all figured out.  Trust no one and love nothing.
She lives in a hovel with no phone and no locks on the doors.  She is ready to fight at the drop of a hat.
Malcolm McLeod chanced upon Molly while she was still in school and felt an attraction which he managed to work into a correspondence while he was away at war in Angola.  Through their letters, the two became close and revealed more of themselves than was their habit.
Through Malcolm, Molly finds a job at the Opera Bakery whose owner Neill sees something in her and gives her a chance against his family’s strong objections.  Molly works hard and demonstrates her talent as a baker and works her way into a better job and a place in Neill’s heart.  Neill is the father that Molly never had and she begins to slowly but surely respond to him in kind.
At the bakery, Molly gets involved with a very picky customer.  Judge William Brooks likes that Molly doesn’t take any crap from him and he wants to start a relationship with her.  Even though she is reluctant the relationship begins and Malcolm does not approve.
It seems like Molly has only enemies and can’t escape from her past but is it true?  Can she have a loving relationship with Malcolm?  Molly’s challenge is to make it in the real world.

Molly is not a real nice girl.  She is angry and has a giant chip on her shoulder.  She is mean to those who reach out to her and she hates herself to the point of doing herself physical harm.  Somehow though, I fell in love with Molly.  As her story of her years at school were revealed throughout the story, I understood more and more what made her feel as she did.  I just wanted her to triumph.  I really rooted for her from almost the very beginning.
Malcolm was a very dark but interesting man.  He too had ghosts that haunted him from his past.  He worked hard to help Molly and to love her but he had a lot of  hurdles to jump to make that happen.
Neill, the bakery owner, was the nicest man ever.  He had all good intentions and he saw Molly for what she was, a girl who had been battered by life that deserved a chance.
The bakery was a great place for Molly’s growth to take place.
Things never went smoothly for the cast of characters for very long and it made for an interesting and unusual story.  I was hooked and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. The only thing I didn’t like was that I didn’t hear enough about Molly’s final transformation. 

This book would be rated PG-13 for sure for sexual content and violence.  It is really a book for adults.

You can find Charmaine's book here:Melange Books