Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Book Review: Shadow in Serenity by Terri Blackstock/4 Stars
Carny Sullivan grew up in the zany world of a traveling carnival. Quaint and peaceful Serenity, Texas, has given her a home, a life, and a child. Logan Brisco is the smoothest, slickest, handsomest man Serenity, Texas has ever seen. But Carny Sullivan knows a con artist when she sees one---and she's seen plenty, starting with her father.
As far as Carny Sullivan can tell, she's the only one in town who has his number. Because from his Italian shoes to his movie-actor smile, Logan has the rest of the town snowed. Carny is determined to reveal Brisco's selfish intentions before his promise to the townspeople for a cut in a giant amusement park sucks Serenity dry. Yet, as much as she hates his winning ways, there is a man behind that suave smile, a man who may win her heart against her will.
Shadow in Serenity is a modern-day Music Man, penned by a Christy Award-winning, New York Times bestselling author.
I have been a diehard fan of Terri Blackstock since I first started reading Christian fiction over ten years ago. I have always been able to rely on Terri to provide suspenseful stories that keep me awake until the wee hours of the morning. However, this was not one of her stronger novels.
While the carnival/amusement park idea was unique, I felt that I had to suspend belief for a large portion of the story. Like Carny, I wondered how in the world all of Logan's plans would come to fruition if he wasn't in fact a con artist. Without giving too much away, the end of the story was where this was most evident. Considering the amount of time that had passed between Logan's first visit to Serenity and the final chapter of the story, everything progressed much faster than it would in the real world.
On the flip side, I felt that the characters in this story were extremely believable, Logan in particular. His reflections on his past as a product of foster homes combined with the years spent with his con artist mentor made him the most complex character of the story. Having personally met a con artist in my life (but thankfully not his victim), I could identify with some of the techniques Logan used to persuade the town into parting with their hard-earned money.
I appreciated that Terri went back to her last novel written for the general market and rewrote it to appeal to a Christian audience. Never once did it seem that the story was rewritten as all the Christian elements blended seamlessly throughout the story. But if I compare it to some of her recent novels, it was not up to the same caliber that I've come to expect from her. It was only slightly suspenseful and romantic, yet still engaging enough that I wanted to read it to the very end. My rating is 4 Stars.
Southern? Yes, only by mentioning the state of Louisiana. There were no actual Southern references.
**Many thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a copy for review.