Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington is the sequel to Thicker Than Blood. Roxi Gold has never felt truly wanted anywhere. Taken from her mother at the age of eight after suffering a terrible accident, she was shuttled from foster home to group home until a cousin of her mother's named Irene took her in. Life with Irene and her teenaged son Diego isn't what most people would consider normal. They live most of the time traveling across the country in an RV, which sounds like fun, but they make their money by stealing rare books from bookstores. Irene has trained Roxi to work as the distraction while Diego and Irene grab the merchandise. Roxi's conscience is starting to get the best of her, and when she fails to keep a store clerk distracted long enough one day, Irene insists they return at night to break in and get some real finds, including a rare first edition The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The night ends in tragedy, with Roxi on her own again, running away from the only family she's ever really known. Abby Dawson returns to her family home to deal with the tragic death of her brother. She seems to be failing at everything in life, her husband left her for another woman, her daughter is being raised by the newly married couple, and she's been suspended from her position on the police force for using unnecessary force. Returning home, she and her father seem to be stuck in the same rut of silence and anger they've been in for years. Four women will be brought together by the events of one night and each will have to face their past before they can move forward into the future God has planned for them. Darlington's writing is full of surprising depth. Each character is fully-fleshed and very real; at the end of the book, I was sad to be through with them. The plot is very pulled from the headlines with a message of faith for readers. Darlington keeps readers interested from the opening, with drama on every page, and lots of action at the climax. This isn't really a thriller or a mystery; it's a human story that should appeal to a wide variety of readers. Darlington's win as 2008 Operation First Novel is easily supported by this follow-up, and she is an author to watch in the industry.
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Christy Lockstein (ChristysBookBlog1)
I'm a happily married mother of three. I review books daily on my blog Christy's Book Blog. I love to read, and I love the Lord. Those four things really define my life.
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The winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild�s 2008 Operation First Novel contest is back with a story of the heartache of abandonment and the power of true forgiveness. Sixteen-year-old Roxi can only dream of what being a part of a real family would feel like, after being shuffled through the foster care system to end up living in an RV with a thieving family. Through a tragic set of events, her path is intertwined with that of Abby Dawson, a divorced cop desperately trying to reconnect with her daughter when her brother is murdered, the victim of a burglary gone wrong in his rare book store. Peppered with intense moments of suspense as well as grace, Darlington�s latest provides fans of Christian women�s fiction with a solid page-turner that may also intrigue readers interested in rare books and fans of inspirational crime fiction. --Elizabeth Ponder