When her husband of 12 years slides into bed at 5 a.m., Celine is stunned. So begins this woman’s journey through a valley of shadows.
Roby (The Ultimate Betrayal, 2015, etc.) returns with another tale about a member of the Rev. Curtis Black’s Deliverance Outreach congregation. Celine Richardson has spent the last five years building her own online social media marketing business. Instead of reaping the benefits of her hard work, she discovers that her marriage has fallen apart. Keith claims he's tried to talk to her about her emotional neglect; he says she's poured all her energy into her work and into their 10-year-old daughter, Kassie. What did she expect? Of course he’s drifted away. Celine doesn’t have much time to puzzle out Keith’s behavior because she's also discovered a lump in her left breast, which sends her through a medical ordeal. With Keith absent, Celine’s brother, Jackson, and her best friend, Lauren, step up, driving Celine to her surgery and radiation treatments and sheltering Kassie from the worst of her mother’s illness. Breast cancer, ironically, gives Celine a small respite from fretting about her marital woes. Given time to reflect, Celine regrets judging other jilted women, she regrets neglecting Keith, she worries about Kassie’s future, and she worries about the fate of her marriage vows. Yet her thoughts skate quickly, never lingering long enough to answer her own questions: what had she done to deserve such emotional pain? How had she missed Keith’s treachery? Roby lightly traces Celine’s travails, skimming the surface of what could be rather deep emotional terrain. Instead, Lauren, gospel music, prayer, and Scripture offer Celine easy solace.
This parable of friendship and the spiritual strength it provides will please devotees of the Reverend Black series, but it's too slight to garner new fans.