The One Safe Place
Through a strange twist of events, NYC Interior Designer Faith Constable comes to stay, along with her recently orphaned nephew, at the home of widowed country vet, Reed Fairmont. There, everyone gets healed and happy again. The End.
Okay, there was a little more than that, but not much more. The One Safe Place is surprisingly bland, considering it’s about a woman and her nephew hiding out in a safe place until the millionaire psycho stalker who’d killed her sister by mistake (thinking it was Faith) can be found and contained. It’s bland and cute, (in a way that only stories about mute-stricken, 6-year-old boys and Sheltie puppies can be) except for the stalker, of course, whose actions seem way, way over-the-top in comparison.
It’s not a bad book, so much as it seems like a good bit of ado about nothing. None of the characters, even the main ones, make any sort of lasting impression. They don’t do anything, and when they talk they don’t say anything, unless you count such profundities as this one: “Until you met evil face-to-face, you couldn’t accept that it even existed.” This from a woman who spent the first 25 years of her life in New York City? Under a rock, maybe? Or this, from Reed: “He felt a sudden flash of anger toward this insane, vicious Douglas Lambert. How could anyone be trying to hurt someone so beautiful?” Guess ugly folks are on their own.
The sentiment is fine, but do we really need paragraphs of homespun wisdom that most of us learned by the time we were 16? It’s not that the author seemed preachy so much as that inner monologues were overused to tell the reader what they knew from the times they had already been told before in this story. Such things as grief for the loss of a loved one, the trauma of being victimized, horror at the acts of a madman and needing time to heal were treated as though the concepts had never been entertained before, which gave the book a very tedious quality. Actually, what it reminded me of were those tense moments in a soap opera when the music goes dramatic and all the characters simultaneously turn and look at each other; it seems like something profound has just happened, but, in truth, it’s just time for a commercial.
It doesn’t help that the characters could be blown away with a slight breeze, they were so thin (Faith especially, at 5’5″ and 100 pounds, although I really meant this in a more literary sense) and lacking in history. Faith had lived all her life in New York City, yet had no real friends, no family other than the murdered sister (a young widow) and her nephew. Reed apparently grew up in Firefly Glen, but again, lots of friends but not a relative among the many inhabitants. Reed’s deceased wife was great at everything, but her specialty was her fabulous cooking. Faith, posing as Reed’s housekeeper, doesn’t know how to boil water. How cute. Although I just have to wonder how someone who does not know how to cook makes it to the age of 25 with no caretakers (there was no independent wealth mentioned). Although, come to think of it, that would explain her underweight condition. Not only can’t she cook; she can’t follow recipes, either, or use a vacuum cleaner. Don’t those NYC folks teach their kids nothin’? Fortunately for her, she has a really nice smile.
Nice smiles notwithstanding, there just isn’t much substance here. Unless you have a real soft spot for slow-moving stories that take you to the intended destination via the non-scenic route, this is one you may want to pass on.