Macey Steigel returns to her birth town in Kansas upon her aging father's death. She is reluctant to do so but does because she feels the need to reconcile her past. But when she arrives, she becomes sidetracked off of her original goal by her mother's disastrous financial situation. She immediately takes it upon herself to teach her mother basic work skills in order to land her a steady office job at a local corporation. During her entire stay, Macey is plagued with memories of her past mistakes and with urgings from her boss to return to her job as an anchor at a TV station. The entire time, her mother keeps trying to share something with her about her past but continues to cave before revealing her secret. However, she must do so before time runs out.
As usual, Rene Gutteridge demonstrates her flair for originality in Troubled Waters. There are good characters, which has become a positive staple to Rene's novels. Not only are most of them imperfect, but most have believable personalities. The one mistake Rene makes in this area is creating an unnecessary perfect male lead. His role never comes to anything and therefore shows that he was unnecessary. His part could have been improved by being given a personality or at least being imperfect.
Several realistic things happen throughout the book. In this type of confronting-your-past book, not many authors explore realistic side topics such as financial issues like Rene did in this book. Macey's personality makes her want to fix her mother's situation, which is something that could happen any day. These are the kinds of issues fiction needs to be based upon-realistic, everyday life situations that can serve to teach the reader how to avoid the mistakes the characters make.
As another plus, Macey's troubled past is her fault, as the reader finds out near the end of the book. Even though the situation is slightly overused, it is still realistic and something that could happen every day.
And to top things off, the end is realistic, as it should have been. Not all things work out, but the things that do work out work out in a realistic way. If Rene had just given the male lead a personality and some imperfection, we could be looking at a five star novel here. But since she did not, she will fall short of that honor.
However, this is not a book that should be overlooked. Troubled Waters is a prime example of the kind of fiction that should be on the market. I hope many authors learn this in the future.