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Don't Tell    by Karen Rose order for
Don't Tell
by Karen Rose
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Rashmi Srinivas

After suffering years of abuse and torture from her extremely cruel, unbalanced but intelligent cop husband, Mary Grace Winters finally gets up the courage and determination to execute a daring and painstaking plan of escape. Soon she and her son disappear by staging their own deaths. This fools everybody in Asheville, including her violent husband. Nine years and plenty of miles later, under the new name of Caroline Stewart, this former high-school dropout is well on her way to earning a well-deserved college degree, and she and her son Tom are as normal and happy as they can be, given their traumatic past. But caution is still their middle name and secrecy their life mantra, and mother and son always look out for each other.

Into this placid life of theirs, limps tall, handsome Max Hunter, Caroline's new boss. Attraction is mutual, both being surprised at a rekindling of dormant feelings. Having surrounded herself with safe and fatherly men for the past nine years, Caroline has no idea how to deal with the stormy emotions that her charismatic boss arouses in her. Max has emotional and physical scars of his own, which left him feeling incomplete, and he's wary of the tender and sexy feelings that Caroline so effortlessly stirs up in him. With encouragement from friends and family, both tentatively work towards a relationship. Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Tom is angry and apprehensive at this new development, fearing that Max will turn out to be just like his dad. Little do they know that Caroline's husband has at long last discovered her deception, and is even now doggedly tracking them down.

Karen Rose has done a fantastic job of telling a tale of a woman who escapes years of spousal abuse to become a whole and productive person. Her saga of a woman's courage, patience, determination and ultimate triumph, is touchingly narrated. Like many other women, Caroline is stuck in a viciously abusive relationship, but she has the guts to do what very few manage - get rid of the fear and gain control of her own life and destiny. She is an inspiration to women everywhere and the author is to be lauded for her courageous portrayal. The powerful message of Don't Tell distinguishes it and, along with well developed and realistic characters, makes it a worthwhile and stimulating read.

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