Normally I attempt to summarize the plot rather than simply copy and paste the publisher’s description, if only to give my readers another perspective on the book. However, this novel has many secrets, and for fear of giving them away, I decided to simply paste the publisher’s description to hint as to the book’s contents:
One final cry and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness. Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie. But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.
I am a big fan of Julie Klassen and attempt to read her novels as soon as they release, knowing that her books never disappoint. I must say I particularly loved this novel, and it has risen, in my mind, as one of her best works. It is difficult to specifically say what it is I loved about this book for there is a fair amount of mystery throughout the novel that I would hate to give away, but suffice it to say that the characters are so well written that their sins and their faults, although perhaps not exactly similar to my own sins, nonetheless drew me in because the feelings of remorse and regret are not unlike what I experience when I disappoint God. I absolutely loved the theme of forgiveness in the novel and the never-ending grace of God. I think readers need to realize that women in the early 1800s faced a much different world than the one we face today; not excusing, perhaps, all the sins of the protagonists, but certainly allowing a certain understanding for this particular reader. The scenes are so beautifully told, the romance so achingly unexpected, the characters so broken and healed, and the plot so mysterious and surprising, with twists and turns that made it most difficult to put the book down. It is impossible, I think, not to fall in love with the characters and identify yourself with even small fragments of their pain, love, and difficult choices. It is true that some romantic scenes may be more detailed than Julie’s earlier works, but I did not think them too graphic for Christian fiction. I most highly recommend this novel.