Finding James by Nancy Blaha is a poignant story that is as affecting as it is entertaining. Karen suffered the loss of her brother eight years ago and has kept the secret from her husband, Dan. She knows that someday she will return home to face the disturbing memory of the past. She has never stopped blaming herself for James’ death, so when she receives the phone call about her father’s deteriorating health situation, she is forced to leave Southern California to go back to her hometown in Easley to be with her father. Dan’s surprise visit to be with them alters everything as secrets begin to surface. For the first time, Dan learns that James is Karen’s dead twin brother. As truths are laid bare and discoveries are made, can Karen’s marriage be saved from falling apart and can she reconcile with a past that has haunted her all these years?
This is a beautifully written and intelligently plotted story that is emotionally rich, exploring strong themes of love and loss, marriage and family, addiction, family secrets, and one woman’s secret quest to redeem herself. The author uses the power of secrets to create a plot that is suspenseful and that reserves many surprising twists for readers. Nancy Blaha writes in beautiful prose and she creates characters that are genuinely flawed and hugely relatable. I particularly loved the way that Karen’s addictive mother is written. The reader can’t help but feel for her while hating her for the way she is. The aspect of learning that Karen might not have known her twin brother fully is intriguing. The narrative is psychologically disturbing at times, emotionally rich, and captivating in evoking strong family dynamics. The world-building is solid, but Nancy Blaha’s skill in writing compelling inner worlds for her characters beats every other feat in this literary accomplishment. Finding James is fast-paced and greatly entertaining, a story for anyone who enjoys complex characters and a plot that is irresistible.