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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Contingency Plan by Anita Ensel

Contingency Plan by Anita Ensel
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (29 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

A desperate mother is offered an unusual opportunity by an even more unusual person -- but should she take the offer or go with her contingency plan?

Sharon’s running out of time and money. She’s got a plan for how to save herself and her two children after their deadbeat dad and the rest of their family have deserted them. But what will her contingency plan do to her soul and the souls of her children?

Mr. Mann carries burdens most couldn’t—the visible, odd arrangement of connected boxes on his back, and the hidden guilt for deeds done long, long ago. The end may be in sight, but not a happy one if Sharon chooses the wrong path.

Someone’s contingency plan will be put into effect, but whether it leads to a happily ever after or dark despair will require intricate maneuverings by the white witches of the Neighborhood. But even they can’t stop a good woman from going wrong.

Abandoned by her husband, left to bring up two children with no means of support, Sharon is about to make arrangements to settle things with her husband. When a small man approaches her and offers her a room in a nearby hostel in exchange for domestic help in the building, she and the children find friends and happiness. The children call their new friend Mr Mann and he reminds Sharon of Rumpelstiltskin. Despite their new found happiness she knows it can’t last and her plan for dealing with her ex-husband still lurks in her mind.

Contingency Planis a cross between a fairy story, a woman with a broken heart and a man with a mission. Sharon starts out as a sad woman, wanting like many others to do the best for her family. Mr Mann is trying to do the best for them too, but Sharon is unaware of this.

Although the story starts in the depths of despair, the love for family and friends comes through to throw some light and warmth into the lives of those who need it. I was aware of fantasy lurking in the background, never quite open, but plucking at the corner of the mind all the time and this made the story even more intriguing.

By the second half of the book I was longing to know how Sharon would solve her problems, and if she would be given a helping hand. Then the actual details of the contingency plan became known and left me guessing until the end whether there would be a happy ending or not.

A pleasant read but with a hidden undercurrent to the story.

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