Fiction - Womens
332 Pages
Reviewed on 07/14/2013
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite

Could you ever forgive your mother for leaving your family to live with a serial killer? That is the question Tess Olsen must answer in Elaine Walsh’s Restoration. Tess, a young art conservator has lived a very closed off life since her mother’s abandonment and well-publicized relationship with the charming and dangerous serial killer Randall Wright. After years of reprieves, the death warrant has been signed for Wright and with it Tess sees her chance at something resembling a normal relationship with her mother. But not until Wright has been executed. As Restoration unfolds, Elaine Walsh gives us a glance at the many ways in which the actions of Tess’ mom, Alish, have impacted on her life. Tess is virtually friendless, she has abandoned her own dreams of being an artist, and none of her relationships go beyond sex or last longer than six months.

The lessons Tess learned from her mother have shaped her life in ways she doesn’t even recognize until she is forced to look at her life. Walsh does an exceptional job of painting a portrait of Tess and how her life has been shaped by a few events through her thoughts, conversations and actions. Although Restoration is by no means an action-packed drama, there is lots of character-driven drama to propel the story forward. The dialogue in many instances reveals more about the characters than their inner thoughts. Tess’ observations allow the reader to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each character as well as what motivates their actions. We get to follow Tess on her journey to purge past demons and start living the full life she was meant to have.