Monday, February 22, 2016

Beyond the Silence - Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse

When Lillian Porter sees an ad for a nanny position in Angels Camp, California, she feels she needs to take it, even though her grandfather tells her she'll no longer be welcome in his home if she leaves.  To add to her dismay, she arrives at her destination to find that gossip and rumors abound concerning her new employer, Woody Colton.  His wife was brutally murdered, and the majority of the townspeople think he did it.  Woody's young son, Jimmy, was home at the time, but hasn't spoken a word since the murder.  Can Lillian trust her new boss, and God, for her safety?  Can she reach Jimmy through his silence?  Will her grandfather ever speak to her again?

This book felt like two separate stories that didn't quite work together.  Lillian's act of leaving her life of luxury to help a struggling family was admirable, and I expected more about the contrast of her old life with the new, or more depth to the broken relationship with her grandfather.  Instead, she settled rather easily into the life of a nanny and tutor, learning to cook and tend the garden with only minor mishaps.  Once she arrived in California, the book awkwardly shifted focus to the mystery surrounding the death of Rebecca Colton, and the continuing danger around the Colton property.  Darwin Longstreet was a fully evil character, murdering without remorse, and plotting the death of his younger brother without a care; this dichotomy between the settling in of a nanny with a hurting family and the actions of a cold-blooded killer was jarring.

Although I found the combination of stories to be awkward, there were several characters whom I enjoyed; Lillian was a strong, independent woman who cared for everyone she met, yet she wasn't afraid to speak truth to those who attacked her new family.  Harry, the killer's younger brother, was endearing, caring for Jimmy and Lillian and hungering for friendship and love.  Even the supporting cast - the housekeeper, the storekeeper's wife, the pastor - they all added humor, strength, and depth to the story.

I was left not knowing how I really felt about this book overall; the darkness of the killer was not a pleasant read, yet I was eager to see Jimmy and the family find healing and forgiveness.  I give this book 3 stars.

You can find Beyond the Silence HERE.
You can find Tracie Peterson's site HERE.
You can find Kimberley Woodhouse's site HERE.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers, in exchange for my honest review.

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