29 November 2013

Review: Unspoken by Dee Henderson

Much Better than Expected

Unspoken wasn’t perfect. It is a sequel to Full Disclosure (which I didn't enjoy), and Paul Falcon and Ann Silver do feature, but Ann has mellowed in marriage and is a lot more of a relatable character. I found it odd that we had a romantic suspense novel that didn’t have a single scene from the heroine’s viewpoint. The book was written almost entirely from the male point of view: Bryce Bishop, Paul Falcon and John Key (Charlotte’s bodyguard, not the Prime Minister of New Zealand). It’s possible the book was too long and that there was too much information about antique coins (Bryce is a coin dealer; Charlotte has a collection to sell).

Henderson is still obsessed with writing about uber-rich characters. She might be making the point that no amount of money will fill the God-shaped hole inside us, but the pattern is starting to come across as unrealistic fantasy, in much the same was as Karen Kingsbury’s most recent novels. And I’m not entirely convinced by Charlotte’s about-face at the end. It felt a little as though Henderson had written herself into a corner and didn’t actually have an answer to her central question.

So what did I like about Unspoken?

I liked Charlotte’s central conflict, which takes the “why does God allow bad things to happen” question one step further. Charlotte’s view is that God is too willing to forgive—she doesn’t want anything to do with a God who would give a second chance to the men who hurt her. It’s an intriguing premise. I’m not convinced it was answered satisfactorily, but it’s an excellent question.

I liked the fact that Unspoken didn’t go into any detail about what actually happened during those four missing years, but instead trusted the reader to fill in the blanks.

I liked the writing. There was a poignancy, an almost-unbearable sadness about some of it, and even though we were never inside Charlotte’s head, I could understand her in a way I never understood Full Disclosure'sAnn Silver. Her background meant it made sense that she was insular, reluctant to trust others and had no intention of ever marrying. What would be character faults in anyone else were understandable in Charlotte, given her background.

And I loved Bryce Bishop. I have no idea why this man is still single at forty (except that this is a novel). He’s patient, loving and unselfish—everything a romantic hero should be (his only fault is that he is too perfect). So while I still don’t like Full Disclosure, I very much enjoyed Unspoken and would recommend it.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

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