Sunday, April 24, 2016

Silence in the Dark by Patricia Bradley

I felt this romantic suspense novel got off to a rough start. It opens in Mexico with lots of action. Bailey, from Logan Point, is a missionary there, teaching school to children and Bible to village women. She's getting ready to accompany one of her young students, Maria, to the U.S. to see her grandparents when there is an attempted kidnapping. A suspenseful escape occurs with the aid of Bailey's ex-fiance who just happens to come on the scene at the right time.

The action then moves to Logan Point. The central part of the novel deals with Bailey and Danny, the ex-fiance, thinking about the future and worrying about the present. There is much discussion about Mexico, a ceramic factory, gun running, and a nefarious Mexican drug cartel. After this rather long interlude the novel ends with renewed suspense.

I found much of the novel confusing. There are many characters introduced early on, owners of manufacturing plants, both in Mexico and the U.S., uncles of Maria, and more. One is never sure who the good guys and bad guys are. The characters are good at telling conflicting stories and we don't know who to believe. It was not until the near end that all of the characters kind of fell into place. Bailey herself was having trouble understanding it all as halfway through the novel she says, “I'm visual, so I've been trying to see what's going on as a big picture – like a jigsaw puzzle – but I'm having trouble fitting all the pieces together.” I know exactly how she felt.

My favorite part of the book is a realization Bailey has. While in danger near the end of the book and at the end of her rope, so to speak, she realizes she cannot control God. She cannot control what He is going to do and can only trust. “It surprised her how freeing that realization was.” That's a good lesson for us all.

Another thought provoking issue in the book concerned Bailey being in Mexico in the first place. Had she really felt the call of God on her life to be a missionary or was she running away from what she couldn't face back in Logan Point? A reading group could have a good discussion on that topic.

This novel is a good romance novel with suspense at beginning and end. It could be read alone but would be best enjoyed as a sequel to the previous books in the series.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Patricia Bradley is a published short story writer and is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. Her manuscript for Shadows of the Past was a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award, winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award, and winner of a 2012 Touched by Love Award. She lives in Corinth, Mississippi. You can find out more at http://ptbradley.com/.

Revell, 352 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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