Thank you to the publisher, Random House, for making this one available on NetGalley. The photo isn’t entirely apt, as this is an e-book.

A very different topic for Macomber here, as the central character is ex-wild-girl Shay, who has just come out of prison – fair enough, she went there for helping a family member – and is in danger from her low-life brother. At least her drug dealer ex is in prison (right?) and can’t get at her. Shay meets Pastor Drew at a turning point in her life and unwittingly gives him – a widower whose church is starting to lose congregation – a reason for hope, too.

Will Drew stand against the church elders to protect his growing friendship with Shay? Macomber does a clever thing by having the other main character a man of religion, as she can weave in themes of redemption and pardon and use themes her readers are used to. I also love how he picks up on something Shay says for a new line of sermons that help the church get full again.

There are a lot of details about the process Shay goes through at the centre she lives at for a year, and it’s well-researched and grittier than you might expect, with Shay clearly almost swearing at points and one of the homeless men she later befriends still struggling with alcohol. I really enjoyed its clear sightedness, but I wonder if very conservative friends who look for a comfort read might find it a little challenging. I suppose we’ll have to see!