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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Against The Shoals by T. K. Szepesi is a heartbreaking tale of two lost souls bridled by their traumatic pasts, forming an unlikely kinship and finding comfort and solace with each other. Nicholas Conor, an NYC attorney with an abusive childhood, is hired by Madeline Monnehan, a beautiful writer with a dark past. He is to defend her in the ongoing trial involving the murder of her husband, Senator Andrew Monnehan, in which she is the prime accused. Things get complicated when Nick starts to fall in love with his client. Madeline, finding a kindred soul in Nick, reciprocates his feelings. But Nick must choose between his heart and his conscience, as he discovers that he may have to risk everything he values in order to save Madeline.
I highly recommend this book. T. K. Szepesi's Against The Shoals is simultaneously a nail-biting courtroom thriller full of dramatic intrigue and an emotional rollercoaster quietly tugging at your heartstrings. The plot is a fascinating jigsaw that not only subverts your expectations at different intervals but also keeps your eyes glued to the pages until the end. The courtroom drama is the core of the narrative and drives the plot. The pacing of the narrative is as smooth as butter. But the heart of Against The Shoals has to be the characters. The main characters of Nick and Madeline feel like fully realized, fleshed-out individuals with varying layers of moral ambiguity to them. In my opinion, it is this exploration of moral ambiguity that gives the characters such complex personalities and makes them a fascinating read. Szepesi also has a way with words. I found some of the quotes at the start of the chapters to be very introspective and profound.