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Liberty and Means by Kristin Dow

Liberty and Means by Kristin DowLiberty and Means by Kristin Dow is about Shannon, who’s being stalked, or so she thinks, and finds instead that she’s come into a financial windfall from a sweepstakes company. Once her monetary needs are met, will this free her up to fully discover herself, or shine a brighter light on her problems? The answer is a little of both. And how will other people react to her good fortune? The novel is a thoughtful and engaging character study with the pace of a thriller, including a number of surprising plot twists along the way.

Dow’s Shannon doesn’t fall into the trap in chick lit where the protagonist “has it all” until a man enters her life and everything’s upended. Shannon is more self-assured, introspective, and realistic a heroine – she’s staid, to be sure, and eventually opens up, but her voyage of self-discovery seems fully human and recognizable. You’ll cheer for her and trust her decisions.

What moves the book swiftly along is Dow’s writing. An example: “Me having a stalker is like Donald Trump having a sense of humility. It’s not a match.” Every paragraph is peppered with a fun quip or observation, the signal that you’re in the hands of a strong writer. The book is multi-layered: you’re not just interested in how Shannon’s life unfolds, but how her story is told. Dow is definitely a writer to watch. Recommended for readers well beyond chick lit.

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