***** Laugh, Cry, and Hold Your Breath Review by Rox Burkey
Author Karen Black creates a bond with readers early in each of her stories. This story is no exception. Lily and her mother, Rose, are together making their family life work, waiting for Derek’s tour of duty to end. Lily is depicted as a fun-loving child who enjoys playing and the great outdoors. She is often kept by her neighbor Evelyn when her mother works.
Karen’s precision writing tells you what you need to know about this child and her mother early on. It captured me, and I was unable to stop reading.
Lily’s pediatrician told Rose that the four-year-old was an exceptional child. Lily had begun to say words at five months and quickly added to her vocabulary. At just over two years old, she was putting simple sentences together. And now she was reading some words. An inquisitive four-year-old, Lily had above-average comprehension skills, which were occasionally a challenge for her mother.
An old strip of canvas, attached to thick rope on each end, was suspended from an oak tree branch in the center of their small yard. The homemade swing was one of Lily’s favorite places. For a moment, Rose watched Lily from the porch. Barefoot, as usual, Lily was singing as she clutched the rope and kicked her feet. She had inherited her mother’s love of music.
When lured by a promise of a baby doll, she is captured and taken in a moment. I wanted to snatch her back and keep her safe. This look at human trafficking and these young targets is heartbreaking. It is so difficult to protect your children while still allowing them to enjoy living. Author Karen Black creates another fantastic short story you won’t put down until the surprising ending.
I highly recommend this to anyone as a reminder to keep your eyes open to the world surrounding you. Each of us can make a positive difference if we see someone in trouble.
About the Author
With a degree in Criminal Justice and a fascination with the supernatural, the author draws from experience and imagination to create stories that are usually within the realm of possibility but never turn out quite the way you would expect.
Although she writes year-round, Ms. Black does the majority of her work in the winter. Spring is devoted to planting seeds and nurturing herb plants for the garden. Her summer is spent gardening and watching the birds that migrate from the south and feeding apples to the rabbits that invade the garden. During the fall, she harvests what the rabbits didn’t devour, and throughout the winter, a computer is her primary companion.
Karen Black lives in the United States with her husband and two alien creatures disguised as cats. Though both delightful, one is rumored to be ET’s second cousin. The rumor has not been confirmed.