Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Rhythm of Secrets by Patti Lacy

Sheila Franklin is living a secret. Now the wife of a Chicago pastor, she was talented pianist when young and had enjoyed the colorful jazz of New Orleans in the 1940s.
Her life had changed when she became pregnant at eighteen. She was sent off to a home run by nuns and when her baby boy was born she was forced to give him up for adoption.
She went to Moody Bible Institute, met the handsome Edward Franklin and married.
Edward is a successful conservative pastor when Sheila's past crashes into the present. Sheila's son has tracked her down. They meet and hesitantly get to know each other. Samuel asks for his mother's help in rescuing Mali, a woman he met while on duty in Vietnam. She is a young woman forced into prostitution and Samuel loves her.
Sheila agrees to go to Thailand and they manage to fly there on a C-130. Things do not go well for them there as Mali is owned by a very powerful underworld figure. While attempting to get Mali out of the country they are kidnapped by Mali's owner and held. They are rescued by a retired American general who throws his weight around.
Edward, initially having a great deal of difficulty with Sheila's hidden past, suddenly has a change of heart, appears in Bangkok to help her, and in the end loves her dearly.

The story took a long time to develop. Lacy uses the technique of alternating between the present situation and the past, a technique that dragged at times. I had a great deal of difficulty with the “live happily ever after” ending. I live in a military community and I am not convinced a retired general would have the power Lacy gives him to rescue Sheila, Samuel and Mali. I know how difficult it is for a civilian to get on base (without paperwork), let alone on a military transport, so I doubt getting on a C-130 to fly to Thailand was realistic. Also, the turn about by Edward seems a bit abrupt.
In the end, I would recommend the book as Lacy has done a good job bringing Sheila through the growth she needed to experience in dealing with her past and the hurts it caused. The defects in the book are outweighed by the overall story.  There are discussion questions at the end of the book.
This book is based on a true story, prompted by a newspaper article Lacy read.

Kregel Publications, 332 pages.

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I received a copy of the book from Kregel Publications for the purpose of this review.

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