To make good on her promise to Lola, Maple vows to help Veronica. With the assistance of Michael, a handsome and savvy PI, they journey up and down the East Coast, dodging the authorities, a shady lawyer, a cold-hearted hit man, and the powerful widow, Mrs. Brentwood. As Maple’s bitterness about spending her last days saving Veronica dissipates and her friendship with Michael develops, she realizes that on the way to death, she’s found something she’s never had—life.
** 5 STARS **
So, just imagine finding out you’re about to die, have a “live it up til the end’ plan and have it completely thwarted because you walk in on a murder scene. That is exactly how we first meet Maple Summer Wallace. The story grabs you from the opening page, latches on and doesn’t let go.
Maple and her nuisance of an accidental sidekick, Ronnie are both orphans. Their relationship is complicated having grown up as ‘sisters’ but not related. They are polar opposites. Maple having shut down and shoving away her emotions, and Ronnie has this near naïve innocence about her.
Facing your mortality puts a lot of things in perspective. Sometimes. Maple was a little delayed on that. She wanted to go out the same way she lived. Closed off, and making only superficial connections. Getting tangled up in a murder has a way of derailing one’s plans.
What follows is a journey of finding a reason to live when time is no longer on your side.
Maple initially comes across as cold, unfeeling, the ‘typical socialite’ as it were. She can’t be bothered with Ronnie’s situation, it doesn’t concern her. Plus being around Ronnie makes Maple feel, and that’s something she wants to avoid at all costs. I loved how she’d try to tap into her ‘inner Jackie O’ when she needed to deal with stressful situations. Reminded me of an episode of Sex and The City with Charlotte.
To borrow from Transformers, there was more to Maple than meets the eye. Beneath the cold exterior was a scared young woman. A woman who experienced a lot of loss in a short period of time. Because she didn’t want to appear weak, she hid the pain. Ronnie reminded Maple of everything she wanted to forget. Everyone Maple had a connection with was gone, other than Ronnie, the one person she wanted to avoid because of the memories.
Nothing brings people together than being on the run from the law. Ms. Calla weaves a tale that keeps you wanting to turn the page. The growth Maple goes through in the face of her death will leave you misty eyed and hoping that they find a way out. You want one of those WTF how did that happen hail Marys (or is it Maries?) at the end.
Now I will admit, as much as Maple grows, I’d also hoped for some with Ronnie. Not going to lie, but she got on my nerves more times than not. That naivety and innocence stayed hard fast even in the face of running from the law for murder. It’s like she never fully grasped the seriousness of the situation and while her eternal optimistic outlook was refreshing in small doses, more times than not I wanted to yell at her to get it together.
Regardless on my feelings about Ronnie, this story touched me. Ms. Calla proved that family isn’t always in the DNA. Blood related or not, the two young woman stuck together, looked out for each other, loved each other in a way that only family could.
I highly recommend Maple Summer Wallace.
About The Author
Jessica is a member of Romance Writers of America and the New Jersey Romance Writers (New Jersey’s local chapter of the RWA). She’s volunteered as a mentor in the PitchWars contest for unpublished works, and loves helping out the writing community any way she can. A Jersey girl through and through, Jessica resides in the central part of the state with her husband, two sons, and dog.