Review: All Beautiful Things

ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS - Nicki Salcedo
Belle Bridge Books
PRINT | EBOOK
January 2014
CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

REVIEWER:
Susan Plummer  |  RATING: A 
SYNOPSIS: Seven years ago, a knife-wielding stranger left socialite Ava Camden for dead on the sidewalk of an upscale Atlanta restaurant. She survived, but her face was brutally scarred. The police, the courts, and the powerful Camden family pinned the assault on only one suspect: Joel Sapphire, a twenty-year-old star athlete on the cusp of a pro football career. Too drunk to remember any details, Joel was found over Ava’s body, holding the bloody weapon.  The letters. His brother is her only hope for the truth.

REVIEW: Sometimes good things result from terrible circumstances and author Nicki Salcedo phenomenally portrays this inspiring principle in ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS.

Atlanta socialite, Ava Camden is brutally attacked and left for dead.  Her accused attacker, Joel Sapphire, is a rising sports star with no motive but yet is quickly charged and convicted.  Graham Sapphire believes his brother was railroaded and refuses to stop searching for the truth behind Ava’s attack.  Years pass but Ava cannot put that night behind her as she bears permanent scars from the assault.  Graham decides to confront Ava, convinced the truth of that fateful night is locked away in her subconscious; protecting the real perpetrator and damning his brother forever.  Graham is shocked when he discovers Ava; a wraith living in the shadows since her attack.  Graham becomes more feverish to prove his brother’s innocence and to free the woman he is growing to love from a past that holds her captive.
 
The story opens with an intriguing introduction and blossoms into a riveting page turner.  Ava Camden’s character is weak yet strong.  She seems to have died despite surviving the attack but revives when Graham enters her life.  Graham Sapphire is a remarkable character holding his family together, becoming the catalyst for Ava’s desire to be whole again; all the while forgoing any personal happiness of his own.  There are several other characters that shape this novel into an emotional and fascinating tale, including Ava’s parents, Graham’s mother, and a monster hiding in plain sight.
 
The use of dialogue is pivotal in moving the story along and pulling the plot off the pages and into the mind’s eyes.  Ava confronts her fears by agreeing to work with Graham towards getting to the truth and more importantly; confronting her inner demons.  She is very astute and despite her numerous neurosis, she is fearless.  Ava’s musing; “Maybe there was healing in running when nothing chased you,” aptly reflects her desire to be free of her past and present problems.  Graham and Ava share their earlier and more recent troubles and while it is gut-wrenching to read, it adds to the realism of the story.
 
I found the title, ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS very interesting because while Ava was and still remains a beautiful woman despite her disfiguring scars, it takes the right person to see her as more than just a face.  So once again, beauty is in the eyes of the person seeking it.  ALL BEAUTIFUL THINGS has quite a few elements of surprise and is truly engaging.

1st January 2014  |  romcol@caribsurf.com