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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly-charged emotional read which I could not put down!
I received this book for review from the publicist as part of the book tour. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

One Breath Away is a highly-charged emotional read which I could not put down! It is about redemption, love, and forgiveness.

An armed man walks into a school in a small town and...
Published 24 months ago by Darlene

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed
This book was the 3rd of that author I have read - it was good but I found it lingered on - not like the 2 other one - a bit dissapointed
Published 13 months ago by froggy


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A highly-charged emotional read which I could not put down!, July 22 2012
By 
Darlene (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: One Breath Away (Paperback)
I received this book for review from the publicist as part of the book tour. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

One Breath Away is a highly-charged emotional read which I could not put down! It is about redemption, love, and forgiveness.

An armed man walks into a school in a small town and holds a classroom of Grade 3 students hostage, along with their teacher. The rest of the school is on lockdown, and the police are waiting the man out to determine his demands.

When I read the Press Release for this book and learned that it was told from five alternating viewpoints, I was a little hesitant. I love books told from two alternating points of view. When well done, I believe it greatly enhances the story. Unfortunately, I have read a couple of books where I found the storyline confusing because of the way it jumped back and forth between characters and timelines. This was not one of those cases! Gudenkauf masterfully handled the story not from two or three but FIVE points of view. Wow! She pulled it off! I was never confused about who was speaking. Each chapter was told from a different person's perspective and the person whose point of view was expressed was the name of the chapter. It took a bit for me to get into the heads of each of the characters, but I soon found my groove and I loved how the multiple points of view brought more dimension to each of the characters. Told in this manner, I really felt as though I knew the characters and had no trouble at all connecting with them.

The five points of view are told from:

- Meg Barrett: A police officer who is called to the scene.

- Mrs. Evelyn Oliver: The teacher in the Grade 3 classroom whose students are being held hostage by the madman.

- Holly Baker: The daughter of Will and Marlys Thwaite, she left the small town of Broken Branch at the age of 17 years and never looked back. A horrible accident leaves her hospitalized, and there is no one to care for her two children, Augie and P.J., except her parents.

- Augie Baker: The 13 year-old daughter of Holly Baker, whose brother is in Mrs. Oliver's third grade classroom.

- Will Thwaite: The father of Holly Baker, and the grandfather of Augie and P.J.

As the points of view changed from person to person, these characters became more and more complex. My heart broke for each of them, as the unresolved pain of past mistakes weighed on each of them. Gudenkauf tied all the storylines together into a satisfying conclusion.

Each character has a plausible explanation for who the gunman is. I did accurately predict the identity of the gunman, who wasn't revealed until nearly the end of the book.

My favourite quote:

"We're always one breath away from something, living or dying, sometimes it just can't be helped."

This is my first book by Gudenkauf, but it won't be my last! I am definitely looking into her backlist.

MY RATING: 5 stars!! It was superb! I loved it, and I will likely re-read it again in the future! You should definitely read it! Thanks to Media Muscle for the review copy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tense and Absorbing, July 9 2012
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (#1 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: One Breath Away (Paperback)
At first sight the scenario of a lone gunman in a school holding hostages did not seem the most appealing of subjects for a plot, at least from my personal perspective. However, this book is so well written and so well plotted that it grabs the attention from the word go, and holds it throughout.

The format is that the chapters are short and each is written from the perspective of one of four people - Holly who is in hospital suffering from severe burns, Augie her daughter, Will her father, who is taking care of Augie and her brother PJ whilst their mother recovers, and Meg who is a police officer in Broken Branch and whose daughter, like Augie and PJ, attends the school.

The action is quite tense and definitely becomes a page turner as the climax to the siege approaches. This is also as much a book about interpersonal relationships, particularly the rather fraught relationship between Will and his daughter and granddaughter and a lot of background is covered so that we come to realise how this situation has come about. The reader sees the situation from everyone's perspective and has a certain sympathy with each viewpoint which is quite a feat by the author.

This book works on a number of different levels. There is the suspense of the main story and the ever present possibility of a violent outcome, and uncertainty as to the identity and motivation of the gunman. The latter is almost a sub plot as various inhabitants of Broken Branch feel that the perpetrator may be connected with them. Additionally it is easy to identify with the hopes and fears of the main participants and the characters all seem to be multi dimensional in contrast with some books I have read recently where it is not possible to identify with any of the players. Highly recommended!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed, June 12 2013
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This review is from: One Breath Away (Paperback)
This book was the 3rd of that author I have read - it was good but I found it lingered on - not like the 2 other one - a bit dissapointed
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing!, March 28 2013
This review is from: One Breath Away (Paperback)
"One Breath Away" is a captivating novel! The very beginning hooks the reader in with an insider's account on a gunman in the school, and the story begins to unfold until the intruder's identity is revealed at the end. Gudenkauf drops hints along the way to keep readers guessing who he is, and I was able to correctly predict his identity early on.

Although no author surpasses Jodi Picoult's expertise, I would recommend this to Picoult fans. The story is told in short fragments from five viewpoints, describing the situation from various perspectives.

The plot was not as eventful as I was expecting in the middle, but the author still included enough suspense to make this a page-turner.
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One Breath Away
One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf (Paperback - June 26 2012)
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