Hope Finch is a fifth year associate at the New York law firm of Rice & Taylor. She’s an intelligent, driven young woman whose eyes are fixed on the brass ring of becoming a partner in the firm. The reader learns that Hope had a difficult, dysfunctional childhood. Because she’s been hurt in her past, she is hesitant to cultivate close personal relationships. The big city life suits her quite well as she can become lost in the crowd. As Dylan writes about Hope, “anonymity is one of the things that helped her get through her childhood.” This line isn’t a mere throwaway statement, but an effective piece of foreshadowing that threads the various plots together wonderfully. Hope’s lack of anonymity as the story progresses is a nice thematic piece of the book.
Hope is thrilled to learn that she has been selected by her boss to serve as second chair on a high-profile breach of contract trial between the firm’s client Wakefield and the plaintiff Cyber Future. Unfortunately, the young lawyer has but a small window to savor this career accomplishment when she becomes embroiled in a high stakes FBI investigation led by charismatic agent Gabe Marino. Gabe is career driven like Hope. But unlike her, he enjoyed a solid family background. Gabe also loves his small town roots in Maxwell, Georgia.
The plot jumps into high gear when Gabe enters Hope’s life. Initially, each is distrustful of the other’s motivations. The skill that Rachel Dylan demonstrates is in her ability to endear both Hope and Gabe to the reader even when these characters’ goals collide. Hope may erect a wall around herself but she warrants reader sympathy because we’re able to understand her hesitancy when it comes to embracing people is due to the scars she bears from childhood coupled with the betrayal she suffered from a romantic relationship. In contrast, Gabe desires a romantic relationship but his focus on his career is his impediment.
This book is marvelously suspenseful. Dylan’s writing style draws the reader into the suspense. We see Hope thrust into life threatening circumstances throughout the book.
Further, the small town of Maxwell, Georgia is arguably a “character” purposefully used to enrich the narrative. The sights and people of Maxwell contribute to the homey feel. Big city girl Hope may be cynical to small town life yet she finds herself seduced by its charm.
Finally, faith is an undercurrent permeating throughout the plot. While some readers might find this element of faith a risky proposition, I felt that it served the story well. I highly recommend this book.