Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review: Beguiled (by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand)

"Beguiled" by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand is the story of Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston, South Carolina, burglaries that are happening in the homes of her clients, and the mystery surrounding the loss of her parents. When the story of the burglaries catches the eye of a local journalist, Logan Woods, life begins to get really exciting for all involved.

This story has some great elements and some lackluster ones. The story arc in general, is interesting and exciting. The hero is appealing and fun and the heroine - while not the most fully formed woman in history - is a pretty good character, too. Although I did figure out the mystery just before the authors revealed it, the mystery aspect of the story was strong. Additionally, and this was important to me, I didn't really notice a clear voice of either author, it felt as though it was written by one person - which was a welcome relief.

On the other hand, I thought some of the elements - like how the dogwalker takes her dog out all over Charleston on her rollerblades, wearing tiny cutoffs was sort of bizarre. And I felt like she was often kind of "simpy" as my mom would say - a sort of melancholy character. The book is slow to get started, but once it gets going it is a quick read and certainly kept me content on my flights from LA to Chicago and then from St. Louis to LA.

Because this book is from Bethany House, there are some elements of faith included in the book. In general however, I felt like the faith elements (e.g. prayer before a meal, crisis-type reckoning with God, church community) were really naturally woven into the story. Sometimes in "Christian fiction" the faith elements are sort of overwhelming and feel kind of false, but in this case, I think the authors were authentic in their portrayal of the characters' inner lives. I really appreciated that part of it.

I give Beguiled three toy poodles out of five. Good mystery, not the best I've ever read, but good. Check it out.

** Reminder - Bethany House provides these books to reviewers free of charge. My job is to review the books, but there is no obligation to give a positive or negative review. If you're interested in reviewing books for Bethany House, check out this link to the right of this page**


Jill Atkinson said...

Hi Tiff! Just came by to say hi. I still read once in a while, and when I do, you always make me smile!! Keep up the great work!

Tiffani R said...

Thanks for the feedback, Jill! I was just thinking about all y'all and missing you!
I'm going to be in Phoenix next week - maybe I can stop by for a quick visit and a catch up? I'll bring the coffee.... :)
email me!