Anita Bunkley,
Between Goodbyes
(Kensington, 2008)

Well, Anita Bunkley has hit us up with yet another brilliant, well-written novel. I thoroughly enjoyed Between Goodbyes. I was immediately drawn into the story, marveled by the selfless sacrifice of a mother hell-bent on making sure that her children have a fair chance at life.

Olivia, the mother of Niya and Lorenzo Londres, assist in smuggling them into the United States from Cuba. She understands that she's risking her own life by her involvement -- and she is frightened -- but she just can't fathom her children living in a country where failure promises to rule. The boat is full of refugees, hungry, afraid and huddled in a small, crowded space. Niya and Lorenzo are determined to stick together because of the love between them and how badly they will need each other once they reach their destination.

After what seems like forever, the U.S. is just minutes away and both of them are ready to taste freedom -- but their joy is replaced by terror when the boat is seized by a vigilante patrol scouring the waters for escaped refugees. Niya gets shot, and she and Lorenzo are separated when she dives into the water to keep from being captured. Miraculously she survives; she drifts ashore and is taken in by the owner of a truck-stop diner's daughter named Sandi Lee. She's safe, but she doesn't have a clue whether her brother made it off the boat alive. When she's well enough to travel, she and Sandi Lee head for Miami. Niya ends up working in a popular club and goes on to become a renowned dancer, while Sandi Lee wastes valuable time romancing a drug addict.

Between Goodbyes is packed with a tremendous number of twists as the story unfolds that I guarantee you won't see coming. I highly recommend this book, which should be destined for the bestsellers list. And I am already looking forward to Anita's next project.

review by
Renee Harmon

7 February 2009

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