On a beautiful fall evening, in the middle of a game of hide-and-seek, five-year-old Bobby Clark is kidnapped by his estranged father, a shiftless man with a history of domestic violence and drug abuse. Bobby's twin brother Ricky watches, terrified, from his hiding place behind the bougainvillea, while mother Tabby, who also struggles with addiction, lies inebriated on the living room floor.
Bobby isn't seen by his loved ones again until a fateful morning 25 years later, when video of his arrest dominates the morning news. He has been charged with the murder of his father, but before the trial can begin, he manages to escape.
As Tabby and Ricky absorb the news of Bobby's return and subsequent escape, Tabby is convinced he'll come home to the quiet Florida street from which he was taken so long ago. But when events begin to spiral out of control, she's left to wonder: is a child born to be evil, or shaped to be evil? And in the end, when it's time to make amends, does it really matter?
©2015 Melinda Clayton (P)2016 Melinda Clayton
I stayed up to the wee small hours listening to this. A tale of lives filled with hope and positive moving forward: well recognisable by 12 steppers, as the title makes clear. Everyone's doing their best to get thru troubled lives; until the arrival of the long lost sheep to the fold. But would he be a white sheep or a black sheep after all this time? the story really does pull you along, you want to be thrown headlong into the lives of these people. Michelle Babb narrates with an easy-to-listen-to slow southern drawl that you could listen to long past the end of the story. I was vaguely troubled at the end, mainly because I wanted the story to go on and never end.
Initially, I had found the story convoluted and slow in getting anywhere, in reaching a climax. But then once it began getting started, it <i>really</i>got started almost like an unpredictable engine. You just couldn't see where it was going, or even if it would start, at all. This is quite a talent, Clayton's ability to create an unforseen plot, yet one which was subtly forshadowed was a thrill (to see unfold.)
And the drama significantly thickens, through the characters when they make their own speculations. I rather liked the foreshadowing element, where the characters say something along the lines of 'looking back, after experiencing the consequence of this very decision, I would wish I had fully considered my options.' Maybe it's just me, but I wished I could shake them and demand they tell me what the consequence- the end-was. And what an end it was! Let us just say: a thriller is not a thriller without bloodshed, death and corruption. And what an exceptional thriller this was, whoever said 'one is innocent, until proven guilty' should rethink their words, the proof speaks for itself, and always comes out, it's not for a judge's verdict to decide.
The narrator, who has since become a favourite, was suited well for this book. Her voice, alone, built up tension. A wise, reflective and mature voice: suited very well for every character. It was how you imagine a story being told, particularly a horrific story, it always sounds more terrifying if the voice creates the ominous atmosphere. Michelle Babb's voice created just that: an older voice always signifies regrets, tragedy and experience, far better than a joyful (which is barely disguised) youthful voice.
What I most enjoyed was the bitter back stories of the twins and their mother. Hell, I even enjoyed Veronica and Ben's lively love story it distracted from the darker undertones. In the same way, I liked Veronica and Tabby's strong friendship, to survive all problems. That, and the way that nothing is what it seems: for one thing, who would've thought a reunion between a mother and her long-lost son would have ended the way it did?
I received this through Audio book Blast.
"Both Heart Warming and Heart Wrenching"
Making Amends is a very good story. It is heart warming and heart wrenching at the same time. I thought the character development was very good and I liked the characters quite a bit and cared about what happened to them. The book really delved into several different human and psychological issues that affect so many people, including alcohol, drug, emotional and sexual abuse. Making Amends is suspenseful and intriguing. It held my attention throughout. My preference however would have been to have it end differently.
I listened to the Audible version of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review, and the narration was fabulous! The narrator was able to bring the various characters to life with different voices and intonations.
All in all, a very good book which I am happy to have read and I would highly recommend.
"Twins but not two of a kind"
Making Amends, by Melinda Clayton is an intensely stirring and ultimately heartbreaking story. A story of the consequences of one's choices and experiences. A story of a family torn apart and yet somehow the remnant has strength and tenacity. Clayton brings out the importance of strong friendships, forgiveness and family. The ninth step in the Alcohol Anonymous 12 Step program is making amends...is it possible there are times when making amends is not achievable? What if circumstances, both past and present, are not in one's control and atonement is impossible? A mother's love, twins, kidnapping and murder, Clayton has taken them and mixed them into a compelling story with evocative characters.
Michelle Babb does a wonderful job of narrating the audiobook, bringing unique individuality to each of the characters.
I received a copy of this audiobook from the narrator, Michelle Babb, in exchange for an honest review.
"What Really Matters In The End"
Poignant Dramedy Suspense
Von was my favorite character because, despite all her challenges and failings, she stayed true to herself and tried her best to take care of herself and her loved ones to the best of her abilities. Despite her struggles with addiction she manages to keep her family together through tragedies and severe illness. She is inspiring.
This was an amazing performance by Michelle Babb! She brought each character to life in blaring color. I felt their pain and fear as well as their happiness and uncertainty. I was sucked into the story so completly I could not stop listening... Even when I was convinced I was not going to like where it led. I truly enjoyed the experience though I don't normally partake of anything near as tragic. She made this well worth the listen :)
It was both uplifting and depressing, all the while forshadowing some future tragedy to come... I was riveted from beginning to end!
This is a stand alone novel.
Tabby is an addict who was abused and abandoned by her mother to be shuttled around the foster system until she aged out... This did not give her any level of self worth or any skills for coping with reality or responsibility. Verne was no better... Probably worse since he was abusive and an addict as well. Finding out she was pregnant while high on cocaine made Tabby get sober. If only to protect her unborn children. Eventually she became a drunk though, until the fateful day her ex stole Bobby away from her when he was only five. She still had her "sister" Von and his twin Ricky but she alawys grieved Bobby. Missing him consumed her life... Made her be less to Ricky than he deserved. Finding out that Bobby is in Tampa, has killed his father and is under arrest has to be the biggest shock of her life since he was taken from her. Will she be able to have a successful reunion withe her missing boy? Will she be able to make amends? Or is it too late for them all?
***This book is suitable for adult readers who enjoy flawed characters struggling with a painful past and is filled with plenty of drama, horror, suspense, mystery and poignant moments :)
When I finished Making Amends by Melinda Clayton, I found myself sitting and trying to process the book I had just completed; I even discussed it with my husband. This heartbreaking but interesting book is an unflinching look at how not all lives are happy, how those who should be the most loving and protective of someone can fall far short, and how the fallout from substance abuse can last a lifetime. Tabby Clark spent her childhood first with a drug-addled mother and then in a series of foster homes. Ultimately she ends up strung out on drugs, married to a mean, similarly addicted man, and pregnant with twins. The pregnancy is the catalyst for her to get off the drugs, though she struggles with alcohol until the boys are five, at which time her ex-husband kidnaps one of the twins. Tabby spends the next 25 years yearning and grieving for the lost twin, sometimes overlooking the remaining twin. In a case of "be careful what you wish for," Tabby is reunited with the lost twin.
The story is told from three distinctly different perspectives: that of Tabby, her best friend Vonn, and her son, Ricky. The different perspectives really flesh out the not just Tabby, but other characters in the book. Ben is an especially appealing; wise and warm.
I found the book to be engrossing and I kept my earbuds in more often than usual in an effort to learn how the story would be resolved.
Michelle Babb did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life and giving each a clear voice. Her narration added depth to the story.
I recommend this book, not only because I found it interesting, but because I found it enlightening; it brought a world that was previously unfamiliar to me to life. Four and a half stars.
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.
"A stolen child and stolen childhoods."
I was given this audio book in exchange for an honest review.
I waited a couple of days to do this review so that the story could soak in a little better. I was really left with mixed feelings. This is a pretty dark story. The story deals with two different families that are friends. It takes place 25 years after Tabby's family has been torn apart when the abusive father of her twin boys kidnaps one of them (Bobby) and disappears. Tabby, who's life has been riddled with drugs and alcohol eventually gets sober after the event leaves her alone with Ricky, but constantly longing for the child she no longer has. Although Ricky was the only child she had left to raise, he long ago accepted the fact that Bobby was always foremost in his mother's thoughts. The events had a lasting negative impact on his life.
Bobby, now 30 years old is suddenly in the news when he is arrested for murder and then escapes. Will Tabby's heart have her willingly aid her dangerous son or will she suddenly see the light and try to rectify things to show Ricky that he's important and that she values him?
The other family in the book owns the plant nursery where Tabby works. The husband, Ben, suffers from Alzheimer's. Ms. Clayton's portrayal of the disease was very realistic, sensitive and touching. She has a great handle on expressing the emotions of the characters in this book. Each chapter is from the view point of a single character and written in first person It was an interesting and effective writing method for this story.
The performance by Ms. Babb was great. Her voices for the different characters tend to enrich the picture you get in your head for each individual character.
"Standalone, women's fiction w/ suspense/mystery."
Making Amends uses three separate POV's to delve into a variety of personal/family issues on it's journey to a surprisingly suspenseful end of a mystery solved. Some of the elements incorporated include addiction/mental health, domestic violence, custody issues, family dysfunction, the criminal justice system, nature versus nurture, friendship, functioning with Alzheimer's, and a daily prayer for redemption.
The audiobook narrator Michelle Babb helped the southern setting and family culture come alive with her tone and slight accent, which was a nice addition.
No. In my perspective, Ms. Clayton has created flawed characters in situations that draw out a fair amount of palpable emotion from readers. I was hoping to feel a bit more emotionally connected to these characters and their situations, and leave the reading experience with a "That was awesome!" feeling but the writing didn't quite hit that high mark for me personally. However, I thought Making Amends was a good book and I liked it overall. If you enjoy the women's fiction genre, with a suspense/mystery element thrown in, then check it out for yourself!
My favorite quote:
"Someone once told me three o'clock in the morning was the haunting hour. If that's true, and I believe it is, it's only us haunting ourselves. No one can torture us more than we can torture ourselves because we know all the bruises to push and cuts to salt and we do a mighty fine job of pushing and salting."
Note: I received a gifted copy of this audiobook from the narrator: Michelle Babb in exchange for an honest review.
The story was really good. It is easy to see where forgiveness is needed for Tabby for many things she did wrong when younger. She never lost faith in getting Bobby back, even when it was somewhat at Ricky's expense.
You just never knew where the story was going next. The ending just blew me away as I never saw that coming at all for the ending. Wow!! I was shocked at how it ended.
I love listening to Michelle Babb read. The voices she gives the characters make it easy to help them become real in my head and to identify them when they talk. She has a great southern accent that worked great with the story.
A mother's love for her sons
This audiobook was provided by the author/narrator/publisher free of charge in exchange for an unbiased review.
"Whoa! Didn;t see that coming!"
The reality of it. This book was very believable in that the extraordinary things that happen were so cleverly set up it was not hard to swallow. Never once did I think "Yeah, right." And I love being surprised! Even when it's shocking. Especially when its shocking.
The ending. Definitely.
The end. Definitely.
I liked when Ben came into the room and thought the two women were crying over lost keys. He grumbles but takes over the cooking that is burning. Just a touching scene on many levels.
I've listened to a few books with this narrator and this was her best so far, I think. Great southern accent (as a southerner it is horrid when someone overdoes it) and great differentiation between characters.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com."
"Good story line."
The narrator did a very good job with the southern accents. I will look for her titles in the future.
This is a topic that could have been ripped right from the news headlines. It’s a realistic drama that plays out in an emotional and frightening manner. This is a totally engrossing and captivating story.
I listened to the audio version. The narrator, Michelle Babb, has a great flair for dramatic readings. She brings the listener right into the story giving them the opportunity to feel every tragic event the characters are going through.
This is a fascinating tale of a mother's worst nightmare and how it effects the entire family. Both the author and narrator did a great job with this one.
FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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