A debut novel offers a Christian perspective on the eternal war between good and evil and how salvation remains a choice.
Jeriley O’Connor is thrilled for a fresh start. Longing to escape a dark past—a series of “mistakes” that are often referenced but never explained—she packs her bags and heads south to start a new job. On her first day in the unnamed picturesque beach town where she now lives, Jeriley spots the handsomest man she has ever seen. The next day they cross paths at the beach, and she is formally acquainted with Stephen, “an easy spirit” with “an uncanny calming effect.” Within a few hours, Jeriley also meets Adrian, a dangerously sexy bachelor with a wicked grin who works “in the business of procurement.” Little does she know, her suitors are actually representatives of God and the devil, battling on behalf of their masters for her soul. While Stephen fights with compassion and understanding, Adrian counters with seduction and bad-boy sex appeal. Stephen receives some help from Lydia Jordan, Jeriley’s assistant and a devout Christian. Just when he has finally convinced Jeriley to dig up her grandmother’s Bible, a meddlesome fallen angel named Zain orchestrates a horrible car accident that leaves her in a coma. Now, both Jeriley’s mortal life and eternal soul are in limbo, and it’s up to Stephen to convince her that “nothing could ever compare to the greatness and goodness of God the Creator.” In the spirit of religious parables, Jeriley is a sort of Everywoman, and Sweat elects to paint her life in broad strokes. For instance, her job on the “editing team” at a place called Donovan is characterized by “projects” and “paperwork.” It’s a device that works insofar as it limits the book’s focus to the religious message, but it may not satisfy readers looking for character development or elaborate plotlines. Furthermore, while Jeriley’s choice is clear by the story’s finish, other loose ends—like a main character’s fate—are left untied. For these reasons, this will likely please fans of Christian fiction but have limited crossover appeal.
A straightforward rendering of one woman’s spiritual journey.