A prodigal son
A dangerous love
A deadly secret . . .I stood back and watched his movements. Daniel had that way about him that could shut me down in an instant. . . . I kicked the gravel a couple of times and worked up my courage again. “Tell me . . . I mean . . . why did you come back? Why now, after all this time?”
Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared—the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in blood. But she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night really held. And when Daniel returns three years later, Grace can no longer deny her attraction to him, despite promising Jude she’ll stay away.
As Grace gets closer to Daniel, her actions stir the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind Jude and Daniel's dark secret . . . and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it—her soul.
OPINION: 5 STARS
This is a fantastic debut novel for Despain full of suspense, mystery and intrigue with lots of twists and turns throughout the book. Reading the description, I had no idea what was really going to be involved in this novel but that only helped pull it all together. How much thought Despain put into the plot as a whole is clear, right down to the little events that seem so innocent at first but show up as something important later. This is a review that is hard to write without giving too much away- I didn't know what all this novel would entail and that helped add to how the book effected me and I don't want to take that from anyone. Things didn't even come out fully in the book until about half way through and again, that only added to how fantastical I felt this book to be.
Grace is the narrator in the story, trying to play both sides in something she doesn't even understand fully. For the most part, her reasons for why she makes the decisions she does are obvious and she rarely even made me shout at her that she was an idiot- even when she would break promises. Despain's take on promises is incredibly true but worded in a great way to pull that out and show just how inevitable broken promises actually are. Little things like that which crop up a few times in the story at the right moments to emphasize the point help pull novels together more in my mind, and Despain hit it right on with this tiny but great element. Grace is a strong, smart character but she is still a teenager- it is inevitable for those kind of mistakes and decisions to be made and I would expect nothing else.
Daniel is the mysterious boy of the book, hiding his own sordid past and stealing Grace's affection even if others didn't approve of it. It wasn't until the very end that the full truth about him came out, shifting the reader's thoughts on him multiple times throughout the book. The way in which his truths come out is fantastic and again, the thought Despain put into most everything about this story was clear. I couldn't help but fall in love with Daniel many times and my heart broke repeatedly for him.
Jude is an incredibly interesting character and one that after a certain point, the reader was able to figure out far faster than he was. The reasons for his actions seem simple and clear until more history is told- then things start falling into place even more. His many sides pulled together to show he was more than just the preacher's son- the good son.
The ending is where things really pick up with a big crescendo and climax before it tapers down to tie things together with the last few pages, leaving few loose ends. There is one lingering, burning question in my mind but I also feel this particular question is one better left unanswered to help give the ending a bittersweet note. Should there be a sequel to this book, I will most definitely pick it up but as it stands, it is complete and fantastic.
There is a big Christian element in this book although that is hinted at by the summary alone. The story of the Prodigal Son comes up in the story in unique ways, reiterating the moral of that Biblical story while tying in other elements I wouldn't have expected. I think Despain did a very poignant job of twining everything together without the Christian aspect being overbearing- readers of any cultural or religious background should be able to read this book and enjoy it. The religious aspect shouldn't ruin this for anyone unless they are simply closed minded and not comfortable in their own faith to read things such as this.
Overall, I give this one 5 stars. The plot was fantastic and well thought out and the characters pulled in a little bit of everything. There were certain references to real world things that helped make this book more real and something the reader could relate to- even if it was set in a priest's family. The mystery and intrigue is there throughout, much of it coming in through surprising ways that I wouldn't have expected.
Links to other reviews:
Bookworming in the 21st Century
The Hiding Spot
Chick Lit Teens
The Book Cellar
Note: This ARC was received courtesy of Egmont. I have received no personal or monetary gain.