An attempted murder and a severe beating test two people’s Christian faith and capacity for forgiveness in Louise’s debut mystery-drama.
Denise Bishop is devastated to learn that her husband, Eric, died in a fiery car accident while away on business. She’s equally shaken when she later discovers evidence that he’d been having an affair. It also looks like someone may have been trying ot kill him: previously, the manager of Eric’s boutique, Paul Parker, got shot by two men, one of whom yelled Eric’s name. Denise tries grief counseling to cope with her loss, but after she gets sage advice from her grandmother, Nana, she also wants to forgive Eric for his infidelity. Around the same time, an unidentified amnesiac who survived a brutal assault has several surgeries to reconstruct his face. After he adopts the name Edmond, he undergoes physical therapy and becomes a devout Christian. One day, a letter directs him to a bus station locker in which he finds a letter with details about his injuries and an envelope containing information about his real identity. As his memory slowly returns, he works at piecing together his past while Denise struggles to leave hers behind. Soon, their lives intersect as both seek solace and hope that guidance from God will steer them on the right course. This novel has a pronounced Christian theme but centers on notions, such as forgiveness, that are all-inclusive. For example, Nana asserts that Eric’s affair is also Denise’s fault, because she married a non-Christian, but readers of any faith will likely understand the toil of trying to forgive someone. Louise doesn’t focus on the mystery of who shot Paul, but still has fun by teasing plot twists. For example, Nana suddenly has to go to a doctor’s appointment right before revealing who saved her from a potential suicide. However, although the melodrama’s sound, the plot as a whole occasionally stumbles, particularly due to its jumbled timeline. Paul’s shooting and Eric’s death, for example, take place around September 11, 2001, but an interrogating detective asks Denise her whereabouts during March. Similarly, Paul tells the cops that he’s worked for Eric for 15 years, right before saying that he met Eric merely “several years ago.”
At its best, an engaging story of surviving tragedy with a universal, moral message.