Mary Flinn (2015)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (01/16)
“A Girl Like That” by Mary Flinn is the story of Elle McLarin, a girl named after a fashion magazine by her teenage mother. Elle was brought up by her grandparents, after her mother decided to abandon the whole motherhood initiative and run away with her boyfriend. Grandma always said the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and that proved to be the case with Elle, as she continually struggled with her bad self. Her senior year in high school proved to be her undoing. After a potentially fatal incident in which she drugged the high school hunk, Kyle Davis, Elle served a one-year prison sentence. Nineteen years later, her debt to society has long since been paid, but the people in the small North Carolina mountain community of Valle Crucis aren’t ones to easily forgive and forget. With her grandparents now passed away, and her own son gone to serve in the Army, Elle is ready to leave Valle Crucis and start over, in a place where no one knows who she is or what she did.
My first thought after I finished reading “A Girl Like That” was, “How is this the first novel I’ve read from this author?” This is a strong stand-alone novel, but I’m certain fans of Flinn’s Kyle and Chelsea series will delight in getting to know a different side of Elle. As a new fan, I look forward to going back to the original series to learn more about each of the colorful characters. I saw hints of Elle’s bad girl side in “A Girl Like That” and was definitely intrigued. She must be a fantastic antagonist in the series.
I connected with Elle immediately. She is strong, but she doesn’t seem to realize her strength. She is a good mother, employer, friend, and lover, but her insecurities blind her from the assets of her character. Watching Elle grow and mature as she bravely moves to a new town to start her new business, and her new life, kept me glued to the book for hours.
Readers will enjoy the vibrant settings of the majestic mountains and sandy beaches in North Carolina. One gets the distinct feeling of being right there with the characters, whether it’s lying on the beach or sitting on the front porch of a mountainside cabin.
I highly recommend “A Girl Like That” by Mary Flinn. It is an enchanting story with a realistic plot and cast of characters that will keep readers intrigued to the very end, and left wanting more when they get there.