Vagabonda Reads

Bohemian in Thought and Deed . . .

Review: Absolution by Amanda Dick


life death truth lies teaser




ABSOLUTION - book coverJack 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.

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“What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us,”

– Jean-Paul Sartre

as referenced in Chapter 15 of Absolution

Jack McKenna, Ally Connor (his girlfriend), and their friend, Callum, are returning from a Pearl Jam concert when they’re involved in a nightmarish car accident. Jack and Callum suffer minor scrapes, while Ally sustains life-changing injuries. Upon the realization of the extent of a still-unconscious Ally’s injuries, Jack runs — from Ally, his family, his friends — from his life.

For four years (four years!), a self-loathing Jack lives in exile. Fueled by remorse, guilt and fear, Jack turns to the brutality of the fight ring in an attempt to exorcise his demons. Upon receiving the news of his father’s death, Jack is compelled to return home and finally face his own truth.

Author Amanda Dicks novel, Absolution, is a story of second chances, spiritual growth and personal redemption.

Employing a technique that alternates points-of-view and flashbacks, the author guides her readers along the path each of the three protagonists take to heal from their wounds — whether they be physical, spiritual or psychological. Additionally, the reader never really knows the exact locale of the characters – neither city nor country is referenced, and this bit of brilliance on the author’s part keeps the reader focused on the emotional/spiritual aspect of her characters.

The female protagonist, Ally, the character who has lost the most, is the one most healed. Author Dicks crafts a believable heroine who learns to overcome her losses — not only surviving, but thriving.  The character of Callum seems to be an altruist in the purest sense.  This reader found Jack to be the least sympathetic of these three characters —  he’s seemingly a bit of a coward — granted traumatized, but still a weak personality. And as such, his actions frustrated this reader.

There are portions of this novel that seemed to drown in angst and suffering, but given the subject matter, these passages are unavoidable and necessary.  While Absolution is a compelling read dealing with heavy subject matter, it’s not a negative story — it’s one of hope, of healing, of second chances and happily ever after. Have tissues on hand.

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 stars

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*


Amanda Dick - author picAmanda 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.


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