ALWAYS UNIQUE - Nikki Turner
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN: 978-1-250-04302-3
March 2014
Contemporary Fiction

New York City - Present Day

ALWAYS UNIQUE is a collection of three novellas (UNIQUE, BETRAYAL, and REVENGE) that collectively tell the story of the main character, Unique. Unique, while beautiful and always motivated by money and success, lived her early years tangled in a complicated, dark life complete with revenge, enemies, and a stint in prison. But, when readers meet Unique, she's living a completely different, unrecognizable life.

Miles away from her childhood home in Virginia, Unique is living a fairy tale in New York City with her millionaire boxing promoter fiancé named Kennard. Feeling safe in her new romance and newly established life as a culinary student, Unique is shocked when the demons from her past unexpectedly re-emerge to haunt her.

As the story unfolds, details of the gritty things Unique had to do to survive her early years are revealed. Always a survivor and street-smart, Unique first attempts to handle the ghosts from her past on her own. However, the danger and stakes ultimately prove to be too high, and after a brutal physical assault lands Unique in the hospital, she is forced to share all of the ugly truth about her past to Kennard.

After the bruises and broken bones heal, and she's finally revealed her true self to Kennard, Unique feels free to move on with her life, complete with marrying Kennard and opening her dream restaurant in the big city. Things are better than ever for Unique when her happiness is threatened again by the looming people in her past that are still hungry for revenge for the wrongs Unique committed against them years ago.

While a familiar story line to readers of a heroine overcoming a challenging past, ALWAYS UNIQUE is a difficult read-with too many characters interwoven into an unbelievable tale and a heroine who is tough to care about, this modern day urban story feels unrealistic. With entirely too much slang, unnecessary details about minor characters, and impossible scenarios, the pages are difficult to turn as the reader tries to learn the ultimate fate of Unique.

Jennifer Harrington