The Turning Point
The Turning Point is a heartwarming story of two people from completely different backgrounds who meet at just the right time, under the only circumstances that will bring them together.
Lilly Crawford is trapped in an abusive marriage. Concern for her mother-in-law is the only thing keeping Lilly in Little Elm, but then Mother Crawford dies. The day after the funeral Lilly takes the pitifully small stash of money she’s been hoarding and hops into her beat-up car, driving out of east Texas and away from Myron, her bully of a husband. Outside of Shreveport the car breaks down, and Lilly is forced to start walking to town. She approaches a mansion, hoping the occupants will let her call a garage. When she overhears a trio of expensively-dressed and obviously well-educated women wondering where they’ll find a caretaker for the invalid who lives in the house, Lilly offers to take on the job until they can find someone permanent. With luck, she’ll earn the money to pay for the repairs to her car.
Adam Wakefield has fled the ashes of his old life as a successful neurosurgeon in San Francisco. Blinded in the wake of a robbery attempt and wallowing in bitterness, he can’t adjust to the new reality of an existence without sight. His mother, sister, and current girlfriend would do anything to shake him out of his depression, but why they think this timid backwoods female can help him is something Adam doesn’t understand. At first he refuses to cooperate with Lilly, but they eventually come to an uneasy truce. Lilly needs to succeed so she can get the money to get to New Orleans, and Adam needs to prove to his family – and himself – that he’s not as helpless as they seem to think. Or as he fears.
Lilly may not have as much schooling as Adam, but she understands instinctively that what he needs most is to regain a sense of control over his life, and to recover his dignity. She can see that he wants desperately, not to have things done for him, but to be able to do as much for himself as possible. Once Adam figures out that that’s what Lilly is trying to help him achieve, their friendship grows, and something else begins to blossom within that friendship.
I enjoyed getting to know these characters. Adam’s arrogance is at first overbearing, but put in context it makes sense. His former profession required absolute confidence, and the transition from a godlike doctor to someone who can’t even dress or feed himself has been, to put it mildly, a difficult one. Lilly’s patience, learned at the hands (and sometimes fists) of her controlling husband, is just what Adam needs to help him adjust. His growing belief in her helps Lilly’s confidence grow. Under any other circumstance, these two would never have met, let alone fallen in love; here, it seems perfectly natural.
Francis Ray has a very good ear for dialogue; each of the characters has a distinctive speech pattern that added to my reading enjoyment. Having a history of vision problems helps the author convey the sense of panic and frustrated anger Adam experiences, and lends credibility to the story. I also liked the secondary characters. There’s a strong secondary romance between Adam’s widowed mother and a family friend who’s been in love with her for years. Adam’s girlfriend is not entirely likable, but the reader understands why she is the way she is, and there’s a touch of redemption for her at the end. I was a little distracted, however, by the story line about Kristen, Adam’s sister, and thought the book would not have suffered if it had been left out.
If you’re looking for a well-written contemporary story about two people who learn about strength from and through each other, you’ll probably like this book. It’s being marketed as fiction instead of romance, and did I mention you might have to look in the African-American authors’ section of the bookstore for it? Hunt it down – it’s worth the effort.