Have You Seen Her? By Chicki Brown

In the spirit of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wanted to talk about a serious issue as well as give a review of a book that courageously deals with that issue. Domestic Abuse, unfortunately, plagues many households across the globe. However, I don’t really see how one could call a place where abuse is an accepted action a “house” or “home.” A home should be a safe haven, not a place from which you run. In “Have You Seen Her” Chicki Brown tells the story of Marcia Hadley—a well to do real estate agent. She had a luxurious home, a beautiful vehicle and lots of money. But none of those things held weight as long as she wasn’t safe. Her husband, Reggie, was a man who couldn’t keep his hands to himself.

Marcia runs from her nice neighborhood and huge California residence to a small apartment in a seedy part of Atlantic City. She trades her car for cold hard cash and trades real estate for waiting tables. Yet, she never felt more alive and safe. That’s probably because of Taylor Villanova, a bouncer who abounds with interesting layers Marcia can’t wait to explore. But can she trust him? Can she truly feel secure in their future? Or will the past forever haunt her and keep her on the run?

I truly enjoyed the novel even though it deals with an extremely touchy subject. I mean, I saw “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and disliked Laurence Fishburne’s Ike Turner for a long time afterwards. But we need literature like this because it points to a serious problem that must be solved. Men, and women for that matter, must realize that there is no love in hurting a spouse. Skin, soft and delicate, was made to be babied not battered. And hearts once opened should never be broken by assault and battery. So even though the subject was serious, I enjoyed the way Mrs. Brown weaved the story. The take home message was when it comes to marriage, keep your hands to yourself…unless you’re making love.
Chicki Brown Have You Seen Her? by Chicki Brown is another book that will grab your interest and keep you turning the pages. I really enjoyed reading the book, the storyline dealt with domestic violence in a marriage, and how a woman (Marcia/Dani) took measures to leave that behind and establish a new life for herself. Marcia married Reggie, a heir apparent to a wealthy family corporation and lived a storybook life in Santa Barbara, Ca. for 7 years, but the last 3 years of their marriage was frought with domestic violence as Reggie ran with a wealthy fast crowd and became addicted to cocaine. The last fight left Marcia with a knife wound to the neck, she knew she had to leave or possibly die the next time, so she made preparations to leave. Marcia runs to the east coast with a new identity (Dani) and settles into a new life in Atlantic City, NJ. Dani takes a job as a cocktail waitress in a nightclub, where she meets a bouncer named Taylor. Dani and Taylor go from being wary towards each other to friendship to a budding romance. Taylor is the good looking, protective man that is the exact opposite of Reggie. Everything seems to go Dani's way until a chance meeting with one of Reggie's friends in a jazz club in Philadelphia, PA leads Reggie's investigator to Dani's door. The suspense and drama that Marcia/Dani and Taylor endure with Reggie retaliating against them throughout the book will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat!
Chicki Brown This was a book to delve into the controversial world of domestic violence. While this book does have a happy ending, many real life stories do not. Author Chicki Brown took advantage of her writing skills to weave a tale to show one woman’s desire to be free from the life threatening clutches of an abusive husband.

Marcia Danielle Hadley could be one of so many women out in this world today. Her story shows how she found her life more important than living a pampered life with money. Her dignity and her ability to hold on to her self-esteem were what held her together through this tale that is all too familiar for so many people.

I found myself pulled into the story quickly, and had a hard time putting the book down. I wanted to know if Marcia finally got the freedom and peace that she was searching for. While most abused woman do not go searching for love immediately after they are free from there abusive relationships, it is not uncommon for a woman to look for a man who wishes to protect them and make them feel special. Dani found just that. Little did she know that when she met Taylor, not only would he be a protector and friend to her, but someone who would come to be the most important person in her life.

Ms. Brown did an excellent job on the writing of the book. She did an excellent job displaying her characters in a very see-able light. You could feel Dani’s pain, you could feel the protectiveness of Taylor and you could see and feel the addictive behavior of her husband Reggie.

While some people may look at this and say Domestic Violence is not that easy to get away from, I personally know that if there is a will… there is a way, and Ms. Brown showed one aspect of it here. Once again I happy to have had the chance to read a book by Ms. Brown.
Chicki Brown Have You Seen Her? by Chicki Brown follows Marcia Hadley's escape from her fabulously wealthy but abusive husband. Forming a new identity as Dani Reynolds 3,000 miles away, she takes a job as a cocktail waitress at a club called Frenzy, hoping to stay off the radar. But the club's bouncer Taylor has set his sights on her. To her surprise, Dani finds herself looking right back.

This book has a good premise although it is predictable. Readers will definitely get their money's worth just in the word count alone. This is a LONG book. I was surprised how long it was for a romance. I was exhausted a third of the way through the book. The writing is clean, consistent and clear. It is also tedious. It follows Dani through each and every action of each and every day...well practically. I would have cut out a lot of her day-to-day activities.

The plot kept me on a seesaw of interest. For example, the idea of her husband finding her, her attraction to Taylor and sparse intense altercations creates tension, but then the volume of text devoted to Dani's day-to-day activity stifles the progression.

Dani is a strong female character from the beginning, so I did not see much of a change there. Her perception and reaction to Taylor is the only thing that really changes. I think her transformation happened before she even left her husband. But this book describes in detail Dani's growing relationship with Taylor. Every thought, every conversation she has with her neighbor Fanny or friend Sonja is purposeful and reveals much about how she's feeling and provides her with much needed advice.

Taylor is a complex male character that has a lot of rich background. As the story progresses we find out his character and his motives are greatly tied into his past. It really should be Taylor's story to be honest. He's the character that grows the most.
We hardly get any background about Dani beyond the fact that married into wealth. In fact, we don't get any idea about her family until we're deep into the story. I thought that odd because it isn't explained why she doesn't contact them until 75% through the plot.

The other characters do their jobs creating tension or providing advice. However, I didn't care for how everything just works out for everyone, and all previous animosities are resolved. That seems unrealistic. Not everyone is going to feel ok about every situation, especially when it deals with matters of the heart. Nor will they voice their change of opinions so articulately.

Speaking of talking, the dialog is realistic for the most part. Yet, I do think Dani and Taylor speak a bit too freely about the details of their relationship to their friends. I also think the coincidences are a bit much. What is the likelihood that Dani would find so many people in her small circle who identified with her situation? But I guess you can chalk it up to the statistics of domestic violence in the area where Dani chooses to live.
There are a few proofreading errors but it doesn't distract from the reading. The setting is described enough to get a good idea without lingering too much. The romance is sweet. There is nothing over the top. It is tastefully written.

It was hard for me to decide on a rating. Like I said before I was running hot and cold on this one. I don't need a lot of action in a romance, but it has to have a good pace. I think what bothered me the most was the slow pacing of the story. All the details and in depth thoughts of the characters and their backgrounds are great to know. But much of it should have just been left out.

I think this would do well as a TV series or mini series. It reads more like that with mini issues popping up that really have nothing to do with the overall plot. But we would watch to the end for the big deal, which for romance novels is the two main characters getting together.

I would recommend this book for a leisurely read like the novels of the 18th century that had description that went on for pages and pages and people had time to enjoy it.

Rating 3.5/5

For more reviews by Cherese Vines: www.cheresevinescharmingwords.wordpre....
Chicki Brown I'll be honest, I'm back and forth between 3 and 4 stars on this one, mainly because I'm torn. The writing is fantastic, Chicki Brown is a solid writer who paints a vivid picture. The meat of the story made for good drama and interest. The characters were likeable and relatable for the most part. For me though, this book was much too long. If at least 1/3 of it had been taken out, it would have made for a more engaging read. More on that later.

First, the things I liked. I loved the beginning. The first few pages in which the heroine is attacked by her abusive husband are so chilling I got goosebumps. I liked that this book had a message and took a stand against domestic violence. Marcia AKA Dani was a brave woman to do what she did and I cheered for her every step of the way.

Taylor was both sexy and sweet, with a little bit of a thug edge that all ladies secretly love if we're being honest with ourselves. At times he comes across as insecure, but as you learn more about his past, it makes alot of sense.

The relationship between Dani and Taylor is very sweet and I enjoyed watching them lose all of their preconceived notions about each other. Once they stopped judging each other (Dani because she was rich, Taylor because he was 'hood'), they really got to know each other and developed a true loving relationship. I also appreciated that these two abstained from sex until Dani was free from her husband. This is a personal belief of mine, but Dani did the right thing by honoring her marriage vows even though her husband had not honored her.

Now for the things I did not like so much. As I said before this book was too long, mainly because there was so much dialogue that didn't need to be there. For instance, I would read a scene and a few pages later one of the main characters would have a conversation about what I just read in full detail with someone else. All of the heart-to-heart talks Taylor has with his mom and Dani has with her elderly neighbor became stale and distracting. It made those two characters less likeable, when I believe one or two of these talks would have been enough to establish these characters as strong forces in Taylor and Dani's life. There was too much rehashing of the same feelings and thoughts over and over again, and at times I felt it dragged the story down.

But when the story moved it moved, with enough drama to keep things interesting. Overall a solid read, one that showed me what Chicki Brown is capable of. I look forward to reading more of her books! Chicki Brown


Summary Have You Seen Her?

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Marcia Hadley, Santa Barbara, California socialite has been married for seven years to the heir of a family fortune. He sees to it that she has the finest home, cars and clothes. Yet that isn’t enough to keep Marcia from running.

Dani Reynolds, Atlantic City nightclub cocktail waitress works on her feet seven hours a night, five days a week for less than minimum wage in a crowded, smoky nightclub. She lives in an aging, run-down apartment, rides the city bus, and she’s happier than she’s ever been.

Marcia and Dani have more in common than anyone could imagine. They are the same woman.

Only Taylor Villanova, the club’s sexy bouncer can help her reconcile her two distinct personas, face her greatest fear and discover a love greater than she’d ever imagined. Have You Seen Her?

Things are not what they seem for Dani Reynolds. Something is not quite right with her but the co-workers can't figure out what. She is running from something that she can not reveal because her life depends on it. In this well crafted story we draw courage from Marcia who decides that enough is enough and changes her circumstances. Without revealing too much of the story, I wish more women who find themselves in similar circumstances find Marcia's courage. I also hope that those women have the fortune to meet someone like Taylor to restore their faith in men. Very well written, a page turner and a relevant subject. Well done. Chicki Brown Great read!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Loved the entire story line and that it addressed a real problem and has the potential to help someone in a similar position who may only have books to escape her reality. All loose ends were tied up and it was a complete story! Well done Chicki Brown good start, then it just seemed to go on for too long. Everything for the heroine was just too sweet. I just don't think everyone would turn around and love her as they did. Everyone was so accepting and loving towards her. That made it seem more unreal to me. Hard book to explain...it built up and I thought it was gonna be great, but then it just built up to a nice pretty ending. I'm used to excitement at the end of a book....This one just didn't do it for me.... Chicki Brown Marcia Hadley is married to an extremely wealthy man. First son and heir to his family's food & restaurant empire, Reggie Hadley has been indulged all his life. Sliding into a life of drug abuse, Reggie also becomes a wife-abuser.

After a particularly brutal beating, Marcia knows Reggie could one day kill her. So she carefully and deliberately sets out to disappear. She siphons money, sells jewelry, changes her appearance quietly leaves the west coast, only to reappear in Atlantic City as Dani Reynolds.

There she gets a job as a cocktail waitress at a happening night club, meets an interesting new man, Taylor Villanova and begins to repair her life and self esteem. Only it is just a matter of time until Reggie finds her...

The set-up and bones of the story is really good. I also liked the inter-cut scenes early on of Reggie hiring a detective and beginning his search for Dani. It added a welcome level of suspense.

I also liked the fact that Dani was immediately a fish out of water and was a bit of a puzzle to the other club employees. She radiated so many clues about being a fugitive that I am glad she opened up to Taylor and her boss, Nick early on. The club scenes were fun and strong and I would have liked more interaction with all the club scene characters.

But ultimately there were a few things that prevented this book from being a 4 or 5 star book.

The relationship between Dani and Taylor was nice and sweet. Taylor is just the sort of hero I like. I like them blue collar and a bit rough around the edges. But I do think their romance lack that 'oomph' of intensity that really elevates a good romance.

I also think is that there needed to be some judicious content editing. As i was reading I was always surprised about how much book there was left. On my Kindle the end location was in the 8,000s. The story felt a bit bloated and I found myself getting impatient with the pace. There were quite a few 'conversation' scenes where both Dani and Taylor would re-count events to their chosen confidantes of things that happened between them or emotions they were struggling with. Time and again these characters would be the sage advice givers giving pretty much the same advice. It had the effect of being too much telling and not enough showing. It made the story feel repetitive and served to slow down the action.

I also thought the ending was dragged out. Again I think editing would have tightened this up a bit. There was an 11th hour plot-bomb that felt over-done and unnecessary. It also weakened the character of the heroine in my eyes to an extent. Chicki Brown What a wonderful story, and Marcia (Dani) is a true heroine, a strong black woman beaten down by marital abuse, who builds a new life for herself with many challenges along the way.

The story starts in a harrowing way, with Marcia reeling from the latest abusive attack from her coke-addicted, wealthy husband. It has happened too many times, and now he has threatened to kill her, so she makes the decision to run away, leave her old, privileged life behind and escape to Atlantic City, where she finds work as a cocktail waitress.

See my full review at https://www.jaynelockwood.com/2020/07...
Chicki Brown