About the Book:After three heartbreaking miscarriages, Tom and Jenny Callahan are happily anticipating the birth of their sixth child. Their neighbor, however, is secretly hatching a sinister plot which will find Jenny and her unborn baby fighting for their lives.
When Ellen Gable asked me if I would like a review copy of this novel, I made sure she had read my reviews of her earlier books: Emily's Hope and In Name Only. I had read gushing reviews of those books from other Catholic bloggers and, to put it simply, I didn't share those gushing opinions, and wanted to make sure she knew it before she sent me a review copy.
So, what about this one? Well, for one thing, I don't read many thrillers, and that's what this is. When I do read thrillers, they tend to be of the Christian variety, and for them, the ending is usually a forgone conclusion. This shares that characteristic--I never really doubted that it would end the way it did.
The basic story line was good and the book was hard to put down. It was a quick read and I enjoyed it.
It is clearly faith-based fiction. The couple in the story are devout Catholics who have a large family. The parish priest visits and mentions that the parish ladies are holding adoration to pray for Jenny. We learn that the couple engaged in pre-marital sex, and headed to confession thereafter. That encounter lead to pregnancy, and of course abortion was never considered. Jenny talks to the priest about forgiving the one who hurt her, and in the end, is able to do so.
I wouldn't call it an overly religious book but there were clearly things Gable wanted to work into the story even though, in my opinion, they had little to nothing to do with the story. We learn that two of their pregnancies were so close together because they weren't doing a good job with NFP observations--something that really didn't have anything to do with this story. When the police search her room, they find Jenny's NFP charts. We learn that even though she has a large family, Jenny mourns the loss of her fertility.
I liked the contrasting flashbacks. We learn about Jenny's courtship, pregnancy and marriage, as well as about her nemesis' early sexual activity and first pregnancy. Clearly, history had a lot to do with why things were the way they were today. I found the way Jenny met her husband to be somewhat unrealistic, but I guess it could have happened.
My bottom line? Gable is getting better as a writer; each of her stories has gotten better than the one before it. She is too clearly trying to teach about Catholic sexual morality and other Catholic topics. The writing style in general is more in line with low-priced self-published books I've read on Amazon than with books put out by major publishers, but the bottom line is that this was an enjoyable read. If I had ordered the paperback from Amazon for $12.99, I would have been disappointed; had I downloaded the Kindle version for $2.99, I would not have been. Grade: B-