About the Book
When Dr. Joy Gilbert is fired by a grieving boss who wants more from her than she’s willing to give, she returns to her tiny hometown of Juliet, MO to find her ex-fiance still single, her once-strong and independent mother struggling in every way. Before she can make a move, however, the back door of her car bursts open and Tressa, her former employer’s fifteen-year-old daughter, clambers out, refusing to return home to either of her divorced, embittered parents.
Zack Tyler, director of Juliet Hospital’s ER, is stunned to see the woman he still loves has returned to town, apparently unbroken by the rejection of her former employer. That same employer, Weston Cline, told Zack last year that Joy wanted to spread her wings and take the job Weston offered her in a suburb of Kansas City. Zack would have expected to see her heartbroken, in tears, but all she’s worried about is her mother’s health and Tressa’s rebellion. To help her financially, Zack hires her to work in the ER, but the minute he does that, he knows he’s in for another wild ride of the heart.
When Tressa first begins having blackouts, she’s relieved that they take place when she’s alone. If she’s not careful, she’s afraid Joy will feel the need to tell her parents, who will insist she return home. But more and more often, the blackouts hit, and she’s in grave danger before Joy and Zack can discover what is causing them, and what caused the deaths of her brother, her father’s baby brother, a great grandfather…how many unexplained deaths will her family have to endure?
**** ( 3.5 Stars)
This book started off with a pace that was engaging, presenting the dilemma of the heroine pretty quickly so that it was easy to be drawn into the story. Characterization was in-depth; the plot was good, but not stretched to its full potential. The theme wasn’t particularly clear at first or neatly handled. It seemed the author wanted to thrash out a lot of issues with the same story, which is not a bad idea if handled well, but in my opinion, they were too much for this story—wrong judgment of others, sexual immorality, health issues, the effects of gossip, the dangers of grieving wrongly etc—making the theme aspect of the plot somewhat confusing. Also, while reading the book, the writing provoked a sense of time that indicated the story would stretch farther than what was intended so that when it came to an end, it was rather surprising. Some issues were dragged for too long, and once they were wrapped up, the rest of the story was hurried so that it felt like a summary.
Overall, the writing was good and clearly Christian. I just wish the plot were paced right, and the theme(s) handled better.
*Although I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. My thanks to Ellie Whyte // Soul Inspirationz for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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About the Author
“YOU’RE A DOCTOR?” Cheryl leaned toward Mel and raised her voice to be heard over the din of Mazzio diners. “You could help me paralyze someone, then, couldn’t you?”
Mel stared at her with some trepidation. This was the “nice young lady” his pastor, Brother Ron, wanted him to meet? “Um . . . well . . . what, exactly, did you–”
“I’d better explain myself,” she said with a smile. “I write novels. I’m doing research on book number thirteen, and I need one of my characters to be paralyzed through part of the story. Any idea how I could do that without damaging him permanently?”
With relief and sudden interest, Mel gave her all the information she needed. Actually, she received more than she needed, in detail. He couldn’t understand why she only ate half a slice of pizza the whole evening.
Thus was Cheryl’s introduction into the world of an emergency room physician. It was Mel’s introduction into fiction. They were both fascinated. A year and a half later, they were married.
The fascination grew as Mel shared more of his world and Cheryl’s imagination took over. Together they generated ideas for a story. With Mel’s medical input, encouragement and help with plotting, and Cheryl’s writing skills, they developed their first novel together, and called it . Bethany House published it in 1999. Eight months later came the sequel. Solemn Oath. To end the three-book series, Silent Pledge was published in December 0f 2000.
Both Mel and Cheryl Hodde (pronounced Hoddee) dreamed of their chosen professions since they were children. Mel remembers the decision he made when he was ten years old to become a physician. At the time his dream was to be an old-time country doctor who knew all his patients as well as he knew his own family, prayed for them, and sometimes even accepted chickens for payment. Although his career didn’t develop in the way he expected, he can’t imagine anything more rewarding, especially now that he is able to incorporate his knowledge into novels with his wife.
Cheryl remembers composing songs and stories before she knew her ABC’s. When she wrote her first romance novel in 1985 she realized that no romance, and no life, can be right without Christ at the center, and so that was how she wrote—with Christ at the center. After she and Mel got married in 1995, they worked together on rewrites of her previous manuscripts. This time, when she marketed them, they began to gain notice from publishers. Three of her first novels, entitled The Healing Promise, Ozark Sunrise, and A Living Soul have now been published by Heartsong Presents under the name of Hannah Alexander.
“I hope this is just the beginning,” Cheryl says. “Mel and I have a lot of stories yet to write.”