"Sometimes the world outside of prison is just as scary as inside."
Reviewed by Sandra Wurman
Posted June 18, 2019
Romance | Contemporary Women's Fiction | Women's Fiction Contemporary
"I used to love and trust many people in my life. I used to
trust my father, my boyfriend, and my family. Then I learned
a hard life lesson. And then I didn't trust anyone."
This is the basic lesson learned by the lead character in
THE ME I USED TO BE by Jennifer Ryan. The lesson of whom to
trust when things go badly when life treats you unfairly
— unjustly. When everyone you know disappoints you --
with very few exceptions.
Jennifer Ryan dug deep into the development of Evangeline in
THE ME I USED TO BE. Ryan treats her fans and readers to an
interesting look into just how life can change the person
you believe to be. Evangeline is probably one of Jennifer
Ryan's best characters, which is saying quite a lot.
Character development is one of Ryan's strong suits, and in
THE ME I USED TO BE she flexes her muscles.
Sure there are characters that fall short of our
expectations, but that is true of people too. And that was
the intent. Don't overthink how a character/person should or
would react to a situation. If you do very often, you will
be grossly disappointed. See art imitating life.
Evangeline's release from jail for a crime she did not
commit didn't result in a happily ever after the event. Her
sentence would still follow her unless she made a deal. A
sort of deal with the devil Chris. The policeman who
arrested her and made sure she paid the price for what she
had done. Problem was the whole episode was a setup.
Evangeline was the person in the wrong place at the wrong
time. There was no way Chris was going to buy that,
especially given the fact that Evangeline never professed
her innocence. She pled guilty. But it just didn't add up.
Not to Chris. Surprisingly Evangeline's family seemingly
judged her actions harshly. They too couldn't understand her
involvement in this crime but accepted her plea with one
notable exception -- her father.
After several years of prison with physical and emotional
scars, Evangeline is once again before the parole board.
This time she hoped that her exemplary conduct would sway
the board to allow her release. Unforeseeable events helped
that along, including the death and funeral of her father.
Evangeline's world outside the prison had undergone several
changes. And this new smarter stronger Evangeline faced many
extraordinary challenges. Not the least of them surviving
the brash, often nasty comments voiced by the very people
she needed to help her adjust to life outside of prison.
Chris offers Evangeline a deal she can't refuse. Life is
going to get even more complicated and perhaps dangerous now
that she is no longer in prison. But this new tougher
Evangeline is ready to face any challenges. The reward is
too important. Her life depends on it. Her happiness depends
Great job by Jennifer Ryan creating a multi-dimensional
character like Evangeline in THE ME I USED TO BE. We are all
affected by our lives and can only hope that in the end we
are still standing. THE ME I USED TO BE is a testament to a
person's rights for a life filled with love, trust, and justice.
In New York Times bestselling author Jennifer
Ryanâ€™s exciting new novel, a young woman has the chance to
rebuild her life and become the woman she was always meant
An inheritance she never expectedâ€¦
After serving time for a crime she didnâ€™t commit, Evangeline
returns home to discover her father left her solely
responsible for the familyâ€™s failing ranch, her mother
blames her for her fatherâ€™s death, and her brothers want her
out of their way. With her familyâ€™s future squarely on her
shoulders, she desperately searches for ways to save their
homeâ€”before they lose everything.
A chance to right past mistakesâ€¦
Her only ally, Chris Chambers. The cop who sent her away is
positive she took the fall for someone else. And if she
helps him track down the real criminals, heâ€™ll clear her
record. But the closer Evangeline and Chris get to exposing
the truthâ€”and to each otherâ€”the deeper Evangeline is drawn
into a dangerous sting that will finally bring her justice
and pave the way for a bright future.
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