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I seldom enjoy books longer than 350 pages, so I was intimidated when this book came in at a whopping 608 pages. Ouch! I almost shoved it to the bottom of the growing TBR pile.

But I've read this author before, so I decided to glance at page one. "Only page one," I muttered under my breath... But page one was enough. I was hooked!

There's nothing that hooks me on a book quicker than a skilled author making me care about the main characters. And that's exactly what Laurel Rain Snow does in Web of Tyranny! She reeled me in as easily as a shoe salesman flashing a pair of red Pradas before my eyes--flip-flops, of course. LOL.

I fell in love with the main character Margaret Elaine Graham--Meg for short. That girl tugged at my heartstrings from the beginning of this intriguing story; I was a goner! We first meet her at age ten when she struggles to understand why her father is so controlling and mean to her. Poor Meg becomes entangled in a web of tyranny that "smothers" her life for decades.

Author Snow weaves her web of well-chosen words in such intricate ways that we follow Meg from one type of tyranny to another. But the innocent child is inventive, learning to cope by sheer courage, determination and natural self-preservation. She's a good student, smart and sharp, so she finds some escape through her studies and friendships.

Why doesn't her mother help? What happens to Meg later when she escapes through marriage? Is her husband the answer...or will he be controlling like her father? All she wants is freedom and escape from tyranny. Does her husband support her goals? Does she stay in the marriage?

Throughout her childhood abuse, Meg fails to find the meaning behind some of her more frightening "memories," so shoves them to the back of her mind. For many years--throughout her marriage and as she develops close relationships with supportive women friends--she refuses to examine the deep, dark thoughts that rush to the surface on more frequently occurring occasions.

This author takes Meg through college and the birth of her child with such clear, crisp writing that the pages fanned right through my fingers. On and on I read, empathizing as our main character struggles through one wrong choice after another, but when she turns to alcohol, my heart broke for her. She was weaving a web that would entangle her even tighter than the one her father had spun.

How does Meg finally overcome and find her long-awaited freedom? I can't tell you that, of course, but I can tell you that she becomes a social worker, which gives her a certain amount of the freedom she craves. Her job brings her into contact with other women like herself, while friendships with other social workers helps to a degree.

I recommend you read this book to find out what brings Meg to fulfillment. You will delight in watching her tear down that painful strand after another. And you will undoubtedly learn skills that will help in your own relationships.

I've read three of Laurel Rain Snow's books, but since she has written five, I have two more treats in store. She certainly is a gifted writer, telling one story after another with such self-assurance that it's obvious she knows all about human relationships and the social-worker's job. She should, because she was an esteemed social worker, helping many women like Meg along her career path.

I recommend this book highly... To be read at a leisurely pace, along with soothing cups of tea.

Reviewed by Betty Dravis, April 2009
Author of: "1106 Grand Boulevard"

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