Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Karen Ann Hopkins’ psychological thriller – The Fortuna Coin. Read on for a synopsis, excerpt, my review, author bio and links. Don’t forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway the author is hosting where you could win a $50 B&N or Amazon gift card!
Wendy Catalano, a newly remarried mother of four, finds herself, her husband and her children, murder victims of her ex-husband. A family heirloom takes her back in time to the beginning of her relationship with her eventual killer where she’s given the magical opportunity to change the future and stop her family’s tragic ending. But she isn’t aware that she’s reliving a tortured life. With only glimpses of the future, Wendy struggles to survive present day, unaware that a bloody and unforgiving destiny awaits her.
The Fortuna Coin is a haunting psychological thriller about domestic violence and second chances…but will the truth really set Wendy free?
Tears blurred my vision, but I was still aware of the bright sunshine glaring onto my face. The rest of my body was heavy and felt numb. When we thudded down the steps, I didn’t feel it. When he opened the door to his pickup truck and shoved me inside with pounding fists to my back and kicks to my legs, I didn’t feel it.
The engine roared to life and it swung around with squealing tires. Josh hit the brakes and surged forward with a jolt that slammed me into the dashboard.
I shrieked, “What are you doing?”
His steady voice quieted, sounding far away. “Don’t worry, Wendy. It will all be over soon. Then we’ll be together—the girls, you… and me. Finally together, forever.”
Josh Taylor had always been a little crazy. He was also an evil man. I wish I’d known the truth earlier. Josh had a charming personality when needed, and he’d kept his true self hidden from everyone except me for most of his life. I’d thought I’d rescued my daughters and myself from Josh a long time ago, but I’d only delayed the inevitable. Poor, poor Ben, and even this Lisa woman who I’d never met, had been caught up in what I’d always known was coming.
But there was no satisfaction of being right all along. I just wanted Josh to kill me, to get it over with it as quickly as possible. He could save me from the horror of living in a world without my girls and Ben. He could end my pain right now.
The truck sped up. I managed to work my limbs enough to scoot myself up in the seat and bring my hands to my face. Digging into my eyes, I wiped the wetness away to see we were heading for the cliff.
The guard-rail rose and Josh hit the gas pedal harder.
The sound of twisting metal was gone with the wind. The rail didn’t even slow us down.
Sun glared off the windshield and before I closed my eyes, I caught a glimpse of the river and the boulders below.
The hammering of my heart reduced to steady drumming as the truck tilted forward, becoming airborne.
When impact finally came, there was a deafening snapping sound, followed by an explosion of ripping metal as the truck struck the ground, rolled, and then skidded over rocky ground.
I slammed into the ceiling first, then hit the floorboard. When the great noise stopped, there was a rush of water. I blinked, tasting blood in my mouth. I was still alive. Hanging upside down, but still alive.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Wendy, a newly remarried mother of four daughters had escaped her abusive ex husband and gone on to meet the man she only dreamed of meeting. Only the fairy tale isn’t meant to last. Wendy soon finds herself, her children and her new husband the murder victims of her ex-husband. While gasping for air, a family heirloom takes Wendy back in time to where it all began. After being given a second chance at life, Wendy finds herself given flashes of the danger that is to come, a chance to change the horrible fate awaiting her and her family at the end, only she doesn’t know this. Can we really change our fate? Or are we doomed to have the awful consequences bestowed upon us happen, no matter what choices we make?
TRIGGER WARNING: Domestic abuse.
I was super intrigued when I read the synopsis for this book, and I don’t think I’ve signed up to a blog tour so fast. I found myself absolutely loving the Psychological Thriller genre only a couple of years ago, but it’s fast become a favourite and one that I love to indulge in whenever I get the chance. Not only is this a psychological thriller, it also has a touch of the supernatural to it, which I absolutely loved.
The opening scene in this book is absolutely heartbreaking. Living through the terror of Wendy seeing her new husband and her daughters all murdered as she’s dragged out of the house when she thought that she was finally safe was absolutely distressing. But soon we are taking back to where it all began, and while Wendy has no idea what’s happening, she knows that something isn’t entirely right, this is confirmed when she begins to have flashes of things before they happen. She knows that it’s not possible, but it happens anyway.
I absolutely LOVED the idea of this story. Who doesn’t want a second chance to do things over again, especially something this horrific? But the question that rides you through the entire story is – can we actually change the eventual outcome? Or is it written in stone as some people believe. Could one different decision have changed everything and stopped something from happening? These questions plagued me through the whole book.
I’m not someone who gets triggered by books, I don’t really have any triggers (except those to do with animals being harmed, I cannot handle it), but as this story progressed and I was seeing the choices that Wendy was making and how things were going, a slow anxiety kept building. It got to a stage, about 80% through, that I honestly wondered if I could go on. But the other part of me needed to power through it so that I could see the outcome, I just had to know, could Wendy really change her future? I was actually talking to a bookish friend about it, and they also suggested just powering through the end of the book so that I could alleviate my anxiety. This was such a new experience for me as this has never happened to me before. I have not experience abuse in this manner, nor any other. I have never been a domestic violence survivor. Yet the conviction with which Hopkins wrote the slow decent into possession and loss of control was so believable, it had me feeling it. It’s almost like you don’t entirely see where Wendy starts to lose control of her life, until suddenly it’s happening and you can’t help but wonder – how did we get here? I feel like this would be a true feeling and thought associated with those brave souls who HAVE experienced domestic abuse. It’s not just the physical abuse, it’s the emotional and mental abuse as well, losing complete control of your life until you just have to obey otherwise risk injury. It was absolutely heartbreaking to read. And I will say here, that you do live through these abusive episodes alongside Wendy, so if this is something that is triggering for you, might I suggest you give this story a miss.
The writing was powerful. Hopkins was able to make me feel things that I had never felt before nor experience – as mentioned above. I felt like I was right there beside Wendy, living these experiences with her, worrying for her children and her pets. The characters were so well written. Wendy is not a weak character by any means, and I feel like this speaks volumes to the survivors of domestic abuse. She is strong and ambitious, she is determined and driven, and I really feel like I know her. Her ex-husband Josh; his character was so well written that I was terrified of him. I was petrified of what he was capable of and what he was going to cajole Wendy into doing next. I’ve read a lot of books in my time, across a myriad of genres, but this man, he radiated pure evil. It’s funny how no monster in the fantasy worlds can ever compare to a human who is so capable of such horrible things. Even Wendy’s daughters were written in such a way that I cared for them, my heart broke when they saw what their father would do to their mother. These characters were real and thinking about them, even now, my heart aches.
The story itself was so beautifully written and you honestly didn’t know which way it was going to go and I think that’s where the main source of my anxiety stemmed from. I’ve read that many books that I tend to be able to pick where it’s heading or at least feel out what’s going to happen, but this book, I truly did not know if we were destined to relive the same gruesome scene that welcomed us, or whether we would get a happily ever after. I’ll admit, when we reached the portion of the story where the ending became clear, I cried. I was that filled with emotion over the journey that this book took me through, that the part of the story which cemented which ending we were going to get, brought me to tears, tears of relief? Or tears of utmost despair, that I will not tell you, you’ll have to find that out for yourself.
All in all, this was a truly surprising book, I did not expect to feel so strongly about it at all, and I am so glad that I had a chance to read this. I’ve recommended it to people already, and I’ve been talking about it since I finished it a week odd ago. I feel like that truly speaks to the craft of the author when their story really sticks with you, long after the back cover has been closed. This is a harrowing tale of second chances, and it is a powerful one.
You can visit Karen Ann Hopkins at her website: http://www.karenannhopkinsfiction.com.
Karen Ann Hopkins resides in northern Kentucky with her family on a farm that boasts a menagerie of horses, goats, sheep, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, pigs, dogs, and cats. Karen rescues and fosters a variety of pets and farm animals, but she also finds time to give riding lessons, coach a youth equestrian drill team, and of course, write. She was inspired to create her first book, Temptation, by the Amish community she lives in. The experiential knowledge she gained through her interactions with her neighbors drove her to create the story of the star-crossed lovers, Rose and Noah.
Karen grew up about a mile from Lake Ontario in Upstate New York. She was bitten by the horse bug at the age of five, and after diligently taking riding lessons for several years, was rewarded with her first horse at the age of eleven. The feisty horse’s name was Lady, a Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred cross, who became Karen’s steadfast companion. Through the years, the
constant force in her life was horses. Eventually, she found her place as a riding instructor herself. Before accepting her fate in the barnyard, she worked a short stint as a paralegal, traveled abroad, and guided tourists on horseback riding tours in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Karen is currently working on her Amish mystery series, Serenity’s Plain Secrets, along with several new projects.
TEMPTATION, BELONGING, FOREVER, DECEPTION: YA Temptation Series, originally published by Harlequin Teen. Currently in development with Wishing Floor Films
LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER, WHISPERS FROM THE DEAD, SECRETS IN THE GRAVE, HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT, PAPER ROSES, EVIL IN MY TOWN, FORBIDDEN WAYS, SWEET REGRETS, UNHOLY GROUND, BLOODY TIES, THE WIDOW, WICKED LEGACY, BLOOD ROCK, and THE OFFERING: Adult Amish-themed Crime Fiction/Mysteries, Serenity’s Plain Secrets Series
EMBERS, GAIA, TEMPEST, ETERNITY: YA Paranormal/Thriller, Wings of War Series
WILLOW CREEK: Contemporary Romance published with HarperCollins/One More Chapter
THE FORTUNA COIN: Psychological Thriller