Fast Track: A Novel. Julie Garwood. Dutton Adult: Penguin Group (USA). July 2014. 352 pp. ISBN#: 9780525954453.
Cordelia Kane sits by her father’s hospital bed, knowing he is dying and hearing from his lips shocking words. Her mother, who was thought to be dead, is alive and well. After her father’s death and funeral, Cordelia finds her mother’s last letter to her father in which she states she wanted a different life than the one she found with him. In it she leaves Cordelia to him and asserts she wants no further contact. Along with that letter are the numerous letters from Cordelia’s father to her mother, marked “Return to Sender.”
Cordelia is a complex character. She has just earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is a well-loved teacher of at risk students, but she decides to take off for a year and find her mother. She has no idea what she will do when she finds her but is determined to at least see and meet this mother who abandoned her and hurt her father in a way that scarred the rest of his life. However, there are complications, to say the least. For now, she finds out through friends that her mother is living in Sydney, Australia; so Cordelia’s itinerary begins to take shape, albeit with much interference!
Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s past boyfriend who now reappears and in his usual aggressive way begins to take over Cordelia’s life. In the beginning it’s not clear why he does so other than his desire to wow her with his sexual prowess. Here is where Cordelia becomes an enigma. Although she mildly protests Aidan’s constant presence, commands and insistence that she will be in danger if she carries out her plans to travel to Sydney, she never really protests loudly enough to change his mind. The reader is not even sure that would make a difference if it were to happen. Still time will prove Cordelia does have need of protection; and as she really is in a vulnerable position from the shock of losing her father and finding she has an alive mother, this may be the reason she constantly gives in to Aidan.
This is the story of her journey, her discoveries about her mother and her mother’s family, Aidan’s wooing and passionate love-making, and some very dire scenes meant to block from Cordelia from making any announcement in Sydney about her connection to her mother. It seems her mother had given a false name when she initially married Cordelia’s father. Now, all secrets are out and about to have some disastrous results.
Fast Track is another well-crafted contemporary, dramatic novel written by an author who perfectly plots a complex story and adds rivetingly dangerous scenes in just the right places. Nicely done again, Julie Garwood – a pleasing novel full of ample thrills and romance to please every reader.