In Broken Places (Paperback)Michele Phoenix
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Shelby's life isn't glamorous, but it is predictable-and that's the way she likes it. A survivor of her father's violence, she has spent a lifetime creating a safe existence devoid of dependence. But her carefully managed world begins to break when, under staggering circumstances, she becomes a single mother to four-year-old Shayla. In a drastic attempt to escape her childhood's influence, Shelby moves to Germany, but she quickly discovers how intimately linked memory and healing are-and how honestly she must scrutinize her past in order to aspire to a richer future. As she juggles a new job, a new culture, a new daughter, and the attention of an enterprising man, Shelby's fresh start becomes a quest for the courage to be not only a survivor, but someone who prevails.
Size140 x 211 mm
Number of Pages375 pp
Chapter One“The only difference between a German and a primate is his
ability to read the label on his beer can,” Bonnie said.
I’d spent a lifetime wondering what purgatory might be like
and I’d found it here, at thirty-five thousand feet, confined in this
garishly upholstered space between a sleeping child and a ranting
parrot of a woman. Her voice was loud—as sharp as the bones
jutting out of her seventysomething body—and ill-fitting dentures
did nothing to soften her staccato consonants and shrilling vowels.
“Of course, they can’t help it,” the occupant of 41-C continued,
oblivious to the silence coming from 41-B. “It’s cultural. Like
wearing those lederhosen getups and dipping their fries in mayonnaise.
I’d bet money their waistbands are as tight as their arteries.”
She punctuated her sentence with a derisive snort and reached for
I counted off the seconds as she sipped orange juice from her
plastic cup, relishing the silence while pleading with the gods of
conversational relief that the sleeping pills Bonnie had taken minutes
ago would kick in before I died of murder by monologue. I
had predicted, when she’d entertained Frankfurt-bound passengers
in the departure hall with a ruckus about her overweight carry-on
luggage, that this diminutive woman would spell transatlantic
discomfort for her seat companions. And fate had placed her next
to me. My only consolation was in imagining how ugly the scene
might have gotten if this Germanophobe had been seated near a
native of the country to which we were flying.
Bonnie replaced her cup in the indentation on the tray in front
of her and took a deep breath. I held mine, dreading the next
chapter in Bonnie’s Defamation of the German Culture, but it
never came. With a weary “I think I’ll rest my eyes for a few minutes,”
Bonnie let out a long, pesto-scented breath and deflated