Leap of Faith
Meet Faith, who says, “I wish I was brave.” Yet, she will soon steal a car, rob her mother, kidnap a baby and go on the lam, changing her name to Leah and beginning a fugitive’s life filled with falsehoods. But, wait! Faith/Leah should be called a hero. She has grown up with a mother who is addicted to drugs and has sex with men in exchange for money or drugs. Mom is neglectful, abusive and hostile toward her daughters. Faith and her older sister, Hope, despise their mother, with good reason. Faith knows Hope will soon be off to college on a scholarship, leaving her behind to deal with her mother, who has agreed to have a baby and then sell it to one of her drug-dealer customers.
"Author Jamie Blair nicely balances external and internal conflict, with Faith despising herself for manipulating others and constantly lying, and yet unable to not do these things."
Faith watches in disbelief as her mother’s pregnancy advances. She tries to keep Mom from drinking, smoking cigarettes, taking drugs and sleeping with johns...to no avail. Her mother does not care. Faith forces her to see a doctor and even dissolves prenatal vitamins in her mother’s coffee, but she is a bit removed until the day she sees the baby during an ultrasound. That moment is a turning point. The tiny infant girl on the monitor screen is Faith’s sister! Faith simply cannot let her be born into the horrendous situation awaiting her. She must do something.
Faith is present when her mother delivers. The doctor lets her cut the umbilical cord and when the nurse asks Faith’s mother what her new baby’s name is (Mom doesn’t even attempt to give a name; she couldn’t care less), Faith whispers, “Addy.” Then she remembers that she heard once that if you name something, it is yours forever. It’s the truth. Addy is now Faith’s.
The next day, Faith’s mom and baby are released from the hospital. Faith puts her plan into action, carrying Addy and telling her mother she will put her little sister in the car and then swing by to pick up Mom, who is sitting in a wheelchair in front of the hospital entrance. Instead, she and
Addy take off for Florida. The trunk is filled with baby equipment, and Faith has her route planned out...but she is terrified, sure that the police will pull her over and arrest her for kidnapping any moment. Meanwhile, she must feed and care for tiny Addy as she makes her way from
Ohio toward the state she hopes will be their new home.
In Florida, a series of fortunate events lands her in an ideal situation. She is now renting a large room from the nephew of a waitress she meets. The nephew is a grown man with an adorable 20-year-old son named Chris, who falls in love with Addy as soon as Leah (now going by her middle name) walks in the door. Chris is perfect in every way and he is as interested in Leah as she is in him...but this burgeoning relationship not only enriches but also severely complicates Leah’s life as she must lie and lie to him. Can a romance based on falsehoods thrive or even survive? Besides, Leah knows eventually and inescapably she must face the consequences of her actions as kidnapper and thief.
LEAP OF FAITH is a page-turner, as it is just about impossible to stop reading on and on in order to find out how Faith/Leah’s story turns out. Author Jamie Blair nicely balances external and internal conflict, with Faith despising herself for manipulating others and constantly lying, and yet unable to not do these things. Faith is a great main character; she is extremely likeable and sympathetic while decidedly imperfect. Although some of Faith’s problems seemed a bit too easily resolved and readers may very well have mixed feelings about the book’s ending, this is a gripping tale well told...and it should be high up on your “must read” list.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on September 4, 2013