In Tough, Crawford has continued her exploration of characters who have experienced difficult pasts and great emotional distress, prior to finding happiness, or characters who are physically disadvantaged in some way. In Tough, however, Crawford has pushed the envelope of her character's emotional angst, further than she has previously and the result is a triumph, in my opinion.
We meet Savannah and Casey, who both have pasts they are not proud of. Savannah, separated from her sister by the authorities, after they were abandoned by their parents has suffered immense emotional, physical and sexual abuse in her life. She just wants to put the horror of the past behind her, but when she meets Casey, the restaurant owner who has his own past demons of life on the streets and drug abuse, she finally meets a kindred spirit.
Although Crawford has delved deeper into the pits of depravity, than she has in her earlier books, she does it with care, concern, and respect for the victim. Reading Tough it is incredibly easy to identify with the pain and angst, both Savannah and Casey experienced. As an inspiration to others who are experiencing this type of pain and abuse, I think it really does hit the mark and I feel Crawford is to be congratulated for this.
As an author, she has entered a new realm, in some respects, with these wonderful series of novels and I cannot wait to see where her enquiring mind will take us next. Excellent job and worth every one of the five stars I have awarded it.