I don't know how to describe this novel. There is no suspense, none. There is really no mystery. There is just the slow and methodical establishing of a tentative relationship between a recently escaped kidnap victim and the man to whom she chose to turn.
Shannon Bliss had been kidnapped eleven years ago, when she was sixteen. As the novel opens, she has managed to escape and turns to Matthew Dane. He is a retired police officer now with his own investigation company. Shannon chose him because his daughter had been a kidnap victim. Shannon wants someone to help her, perhaps even handle her in a sense. She thinks he will understand where she has been and what she will need to do.
The novel covers the following three weeks. Shannon is reluctant to share anything about her experience. Matthew gently helps her meet some of his trusted friends, those in police enforcement, the FBI and a woman who had been kidnapped and recovered. The majority of the novel, by far, is the unfolding relationship between Shannon and Matthew. It borders on romance but it is very low key. They are never in any danger, so there is no suspense whatsoever.
While I would not call the novel compelling, there was something fascinating in the slow and methodical way Matthew helped Shannon get her feet under her, so to speak. Shannon is very controlled, showing little emotion. She is a survivor, protecting herself. Matthew is sort of the same way, being very careful of what he says and how he says it. Because of that, there is not a great deal of character revelation and both Shannon and Matthew seemed flat to me.
The strength of this novel is the faith Shannon had before she was abducted and never lost. Her faith is what saw her through her ordeal. Even after what she has gone through, she still believes God is good. He is Immanuel, “God with us.” Had it been up to her, she would have created a world where no one got hurt. “But God decided to create a world where free will was more important than no one getting hurt. There must be something stunningly beautiful and remarkable about free will that only God can truly grasp, because he hates, literally abhors, evil, yet he created a world where evil could happen if people chose it.”
I would recommend this novel to those who would enjoy the psychological unveiling of a kidnap victim. If you want page turning suspense, you will need to look elsewhere.
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You can read an excerpt here.
Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Golf Medallion. She is a lifelong resident of Illinois. Find out more at www.DeeHenderson.com.
Bethany House Publishers, 432 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.