Jack McKenna is a man with two very distinct pasts. One ended with a car accident involving his girlfriend, Ally, and a split-second decision with horrific consequences. Desperate to escape the guilt, he carved out a new life for himself. Four years spent hiding in the shadows, punishing himself for not having the courage to go back to her. Then, out of the blue, a phone call forces him to face up to everything and everyone he left behind.
Ally Connor’s life was split in two—before the car accident that shattered her spine, and after Jack’s sudden disappearance. Abandoning her when she needed him most, she fought hard to make it back from the brink. The face she shows to the world is strong and courageous, but behind the mask, the pain is burrowing deeper.
But fate had more in store for these two broken souls than either could have imagined. A funeral, a homecoming and a journey of self-discovery that would change both their lives—if they let it.
Suddenly, the secrets they want to hide from each other are the very secrets that could make them whole again.
* * *
When a book starts its opening scene referencing how amazing Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam are, you know you have no other choice but to commit to the story. Immersing myself in Amanda Dick’s Absolution, whilst listening to Pearl Jam’s unique sound and resonating lyrics as background noise; this layered and complex journey was brought to life. With tragedy and heartbreak enveloping the reader from the very beginning, Absolution, Jack and Ally give dimension to the real life intricacies surrounding grief, guilt and love.
“Once upon a time I could control myself”
Jack and Ally are soul mates. In a connection dating over numerous years, it would appear that NOTHING could tear them apart. But when an accident shatters their lives and their future; similar to pieces of shrapnel embedded deep in your skin, the cuts are deep and the pain is unending. Like a dark cloud, consequences are endless and inescapable. Life changing. On separate paths, two broken hearts face an individual journey motivated by different circumstances and different motivations. Mourning their soulmate Ally and Jack believe they are destined to be alone.
“Once upon a time I could control myself”
Following both Jack and Ally’s separate journey of redemption, Amanda Dick also proves her accomplishments as an author by adding in Callum Ferguson as a third main character. Whether on purpose or unintentionally, Callum’s presence in Absolution evolves into a vital piece of the puzzle; tying all loose ends together. Written in third person, Dick flawlessly transitions from person to person, showcasing her ability to whole heartedly explore each characters stance in the story. Through a steady pace; the execution and development of each story line heightens the way that this story and characters resonate with reality. Effortlessly Amanda Dick has brought life, heart and soul to Jack, Ally and Callum, highlighting their individual experiences, their strengths and their flaws with such correctness and meticulousness.
“Once upon a time I could lose myself”
Absolution is perfection. The story told and the lessons learned will tear you apart. Your levels of empathy will be at an all-time high, reminding yourself of all the singular moments that changed the course of your own life. The individual growth is in sync with the all-consuming presence of love and life, reminding readers that Amanda Dick immaculately expresses her passion for matters of the heart and mind.
“Once upon a time I could love myself”
*Note quotes are taken from the Pearl Jam song Once – Which are very significant in the development of this story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Dick is a night-owl, coffee addict, movie buff and music lover. She loves to do DIY (if it’s not bolted down, she’ll probably paint it, re-cover it or otherwise decorate it) and has tried almost every craft known to man/womankind. She has two sewing machines and an over-locker she can’t remember how to thread. She crochets (but can’t follow a pattern), knits (badly) and refrains from both as a public service.
She believes in love at first sight, in women’s intuition and in following your heart. She is rather partial to dark chocolate and believes in the power of a good vanilla latte.
What lights her fire is writing stories about real people in trying situations. Her passion is finding characters who are forced to test their boundaries. She is insanely curious about how we, as human beings, react when pushed to the edge. Most of all, she enjoys writing about human behaviour – love, loss, joy, grief, friendship and the complexity of relationships in general.
After living in Scotland for five years, she has now settled back home in New Zealand, where she lives with her husband and two children.