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Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite
Liana Cohen works as a Public Defender in New York City, but she has lost faith in the system and in her clients. She no longer has any passion for the job. And her love life isn't going too well either, with her boyfriend, Jakob, putting his career with a high-powered law firm front and center. It doesn't help that his work colleagues see no value in the work Liana does. And then her best friend hands Liana a case that captures her attention in more ways than one. Defending Danny Shea compels Liana to confront tough challenges, and to make hard decisions about who she is and how she wants her future life to play out. As we observe her struggles, we - as readers - ponder the same questions about love, faith, and trust. We question our belief in the legal system. We ponder what makes for a good friendship, and we grieve with Liana over the loss of a true friend. Readers might share her dilemma over what qualifies someone to be a life partner, rather than just a companion and lover. You might question your own self-control and the validity of your judgments of others as you mourn Liana's indiscretions. But you will undoubtedly applaud Liana's capacity for empathy and kindness and cheer her victories.
In Unreasonable Doubts, Reyna Marder Gentin gives us a little legal drama, a little psychological thriller, a taste of crime story, and lots of romance. Best of all, she gives us characters who come to life as real people who will stay with us long after we close the book. She gives us fascinating insights into the world of Public Defender lawyers, the traditions of Jewish people, the machinations of a far-from-perfect legal system, and the psychology of a felon with whom we can't help but sympathize until... Reyna Marder Gentin sends powerful messages in this story. She shares impressive wisdom, but she does so with admirable discretion and subtlety in a story that offers rich entertainment. I suspect lovers of the works of some of my favorite authors - Jodi Picoult, Erica Spindler, Richard North Patterson, and John Grisham - will enjoy reading Unreasonable Doubts. This novel is a page-turner, for sure. It is evocative. The story elicits, in my view, just the right mix of emotive responses, and it ends on a note of positivity that leaves the reader well satisfied. Reyna Marder Gentin is definitely an author to watch. I'll be looking for more of her works.