Watch Over Me by Christa Parrish
When deputy Benjamin Patil finds an hours old baby abandoned in a field, he wonders what the world is coming to. Who would abandon their child, much less leave it to die? He and his fellow officers do their best to find out who did it while he and his wife Abbi take the baby girl in.
The Patils' marriage has been failing ever since Ben returned from war. He carries emotional baggage, and Abbi hate his ever going to war, since she is a pacifist. Neither of them can ever seem to talk without getting into an argument. But when Silvia arrives, Abbi finds something new to spend her time on. A deaf young man also enters their life around Silvia's arrival, but he knows far more about Silvia than he's letting on.
As Christa Parrish did in her perfect debut Home Another Way, Watch Over Me is a character-driven plot with very realistic characters. Abbi is an even better character than Christa has ever made. She has a very deep personality, but Christa spent most of her character development on her and left the others to fall by the wayside. The rest of the characters are imperfect and a few have personalities, I just feel that Christa burned out by spending so much time on Abbi. But if she keeps this kind of character development up, she will always be an Elite author.
As a side note, Matthew, the deaf boy, is not a stereotypical sympathy plot device as most handicapped characters are. He has his flaws and a personality. This shows Christa's superb efforts to be original.
The plot is extremely realistic, as was Home Another Way. Christa Parrish knows how to capture real life in action and knows how to not fix everything at the end. She started out writing realistically, and I hope she continues this trend throughout her writing career.
However, Christa could not resist sewing up one thing at the end. This is the first typical thing I have seen her do. I don't really understand why she did it; it is completely uncalled for. One would not miss had she taken it out. This is the only thing that keeps it from being five stars. Perhaps her publisher was leaning on her to do something typical to keep her readers happy. Either that, or Christa is bottoming out from such a good start.
As long as Christa eliminates mistakes like this, she will always be an Elite author.