Desert Isle Keeper
What Doesn't Kill Her
What Doesn’t Kill Her is the second full-length novel in Christina Dodd’s Cape Charade series which features Kellen Adams, a young woman who suffers from a year-long gap in her memory. It’s a novel that doesn’t stand at all well on its own since it’s necessary to have read Dead Girl Running in order to understand the full scope of what Kellen has endured, and so, this review does contain some spoilers for events in the first book, so beware of this if you choose to read further.
Not just anyone could manage to make a go of the hand life has dealt Kellen Adams. Not only has she fled an abusive husband and survived a near-fatal gunshot wound to the head, but Kellen has recently discovered she’s the mother of a seven-year-old daughter. It seems that the year she’s unable to remember as a direct result of the gunshot wound has robbed her of the memories surrounding her pregnancy and the child’s subsequent birth. At the end of Dead Girl Running, Kellen learns of her daughter’s existence and begins trying to be a mother to her. She’s also working hard to rekindle the romantic relationship she shared with Max years before. Obviously, none of this will be easy for Kellen, and I was eager to see how things would play out in this second installment.
Motherhood doesn’t come easy to Kellen. No matter how hard she tries, she seems unable to make a firm connection with seven-year-old Rae. Things aren’t going all that well with Max either. Kellen chalks her difficulties up to her not knowing how to deal with the quiet life she’s been living since she learned of Rae’s existence. She’s used to being busy saving lives the way she did as a member of the armed forces, so time spent helping Rae with her homework just isn’t cutting it.
In an attempt to get her mind off her family problems, Kellen accepts a job transporting a valuable artefact to the museum where it will be exhibited. She’s not expecting it to be particularly dangerous, but of course, she’s wrong. It seems that someone is very interested in this particular item, and this person is willing to do whatever they have to do in order to take possession of it. To make matters worse, Rae has hidden herself in the back of Kellen’s van, and Kellen doesn’t realize this until it’s too late to do anything about it. Now, Kellen must fight not only to keep herself and the artefact out of the enemy’s hands, but also to keep Rae from becoming a pawn in a game far deadlier than anything Kellen has ever faced.
I’m most familiar with Ms. Dodd’s historical romances, so I honestly wasn’t sure what I’d think of her romantic suspense titles. I picked up Dead Girl Running toward the end of 2018 and was instantly hooked into the story. What Doesn’t Kill Her is a perfect follow-up to its prequel. In fact, I really hated to put this book down in order to deal with things in my non-reading life.
I think it’s important for potential readers to know that the romance isn’t the central focus of the novel. Kellen and Max do work on their relationship over the course of the story, but the relationship between Kellen and Rae definitely takes center stage here. I didn’t mind this, since I loved watching Kellen begin to bond with her daughter, but I know some readers might be a bit put off by the lack of romance.
Kellen is the perfect mix of badass and vulnerability and is one of the best heroines I’ve come across in the past few years. It’s obvious life has put her through the wringer, but it’s equally obvious she’ll come out on top. She’s determined not to let the negative things she’s experienced turn her into a person dominated by fear, and I applauded her strong will and resilient spirit. She doesn’t always make the best choices when it comes to interacting with the people in her life, but she learns from her mistakes and does her best not to repeat them, so it’s easy to forgive her for her shortcomings.
The plot is wonderfully twisty, and I had no idea how things would turn out. Unfortunately, I still don’t know since the book ends on an enormous cliffhanger, and book three won’t be out for quite some time, so I’m doing my best to be patient.
What Doesn’t Kill Her is a fantastic addition to the Cape Charade series. It’s the perfect book for fans of high-stakes suspense and irrepressible heroines, so what are you waiting for? Go out and get a copy of this just as soon as you can.