23 January 2012

Review: Shadow in Serenity by Terri Blackstock

Terri Blackstock is a bit of a hit-or-miss author for me. I really enjoyed her standalone romance novel, Emerald Windows, and her romantic suspense series, Suncoast Chronicles Seriesand Cape Refuge, but I loathed Last Light, the first in her futuristic Restoration series, so much that I didn’t read the sequels. I felt Last Light was marred by a TSTL (too-stupid-to-live) heroine who gave new meaning to the term 'shallow'. So what about Shadow in Serenity?

Con man Logan Brisco breezes into Serenity, Texas, with the aim of relieving it's good citizens of their cash. Carny Sullivan is a widowed single mom who grew up surrounded by con artists, and who is not about to let her friends get ripped off by Logan, despite his good looks and endless charm. Carny makes no secret of her desire to bring Logan down a peg or two, and her challenge both amuses and intrigues him, setting the scene for some colourful goings-on.

But trying to persuade a town full of honest people that Logan is running a con might be more than Carny can manage. Meanwhile, Logan is excited by the challenge Carny presents, and stays in town even though it is against the 'rules' of a good con. However, as Logan spends longer in Serenity, he develops relationships with more of the people, and his perceptions gradually begin to change. Meanwhile, Carny knows from her own life that God can change anyone, even a con artist, and begins to doubt her initial impressions of Logan.

Basically, this was a hoot. The scenes between Carny and Logan were consistently underpinned by an amusing combination of mistrust and attraction, the story was fun, and the book had the desired ending without in any way appearing predictable. I really enjoyed Shadow in Serenity as a fun read underpinned by a sound Christian message.

Like Christian authors such as Francine Rivers and Robin Lee Hatcher, Terri Blackstock was published in the general market before she became a Christian. Shadow in Serenitywas previously published with another title and under a pseudonym. Now the copyright has reverted back to her, Terri has revised and updated it for the Christian market. I have no idea what the previous title was (if you know, leave a comment), but I would say that the new and revised passages are well integrated into the overall story, and there is no sign that you are actually reading an updated book.

Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.  For more books by Terri Blackstock, visit her website.

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