(Extra special thanks to my super-cute hubby for designing the super-cute logo for these posts!)
It’s time for what I hope will be a regular feature on my blog – (cue the reverb sound effect on the microphone) Favorites Friday! I read a lot of books. A lot. I always have – except for a 6 year period when I barely read one book but that’s a topic for another post. When you read as many books as I do, you discover some pretty amazing books and their authors. (You also discover some pretty terrible books and their authors but this is a positive blog so we won’t go there right now lol). On Fridays, I am going to reach back into the archives of my distant and not-so-distant reading past and pull out my go-to favorites to review for you. These are the books that I could – and do – read over and over again and only lend to people with a written contract and a set of guidelines to follow at all times. Ok… maybe I don’t actually do the contract and the guidelines but I’m tempted!
For this first Favorites Friday review, I am going to talk about Danger In The Shadows, the prequel to the much beloved O’Malley Family series by Christian romantic suspense maven Dee Henderson. Anyone who is familiar with the Christian romantic suspense genre knows Dee Henderson and Danger In The Shadows is, in my opinion, one of her best books. It has everything – humor, suspense, romance, suspense, faith, suspense (did I mention suspense already??). And just to show you how long it has been a favorite of mine, the cover of my copy looks like a well-read version of this:
Goodreads says this version was published in 1999, and I have no reason to argue with them. That’s sixteen years, my friends! Sixteen years and Danger In The Shadows has maintained its very solid place on my favorites shelf.
From the back cover of my version: Sara’s terrified. She’s falling in love. And if that’s not bad enough, it’s with former pro football player Adam Black, a man everyone knows. That fact could cost Sara her life. Sara has been invisible, hidden away in a witness protection program from the man who kidnapped her and her sister twenty-five years ago, who caused her sister’s death, and who so traumatized Sara that she blocked out the memory of his face. But Sara knows that he’s still doing everything possible to find her – and finish her off before her memory returns. Her only safety is in staying invisible, but Adam won’t listen, or give up on what they can have together. Soon they’re both caught in a chain of events that brings Sara face to face with terror – and with the sure knowledge that only God can save her and set her free from the Danger in the Shadows.
My Review: The action starts almost from the very beginning and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. You can’t ever relax. Trust me on this one. If you should ignore my warning and think it’s safe to get comfy, don’t blame me for any startled flailing that might commence. I did inform you thusly. The tender romance starts also almost from the very beginning and winds throughout the book as Sara tries to figure out how to juggle her growing feelings for public figure Adam (and his persistent ones for her) with the safety measures that must be kept in place for her security. The story behind why exactly she needs all of this security – and her double identity – unfolds as the book progresses and will have you in tears if you are prone to that sort of thing while reading. (I am and it did.) The way Ms. Henderson crafts this tale is really just masterful and could easily be played out on a movie or television screen with great success.
Why it’s a favorite:
1) The relationship between Sara and her brother (who is the hero in the first O’Malley Family book). My own brother and I have always been very close friends. Well… okay… maybe not when either of us were teenagers… but we got past that stage and as adults we truly enjoy being around each other. Sara and her brother have a similar relationship, and I think that really drew me to their characters (and this story) right away.
2) How Sara deals with her fear-flaw. She is sophisticated, beautiful, gracious, and talented both as an author and illustrator. Yet, she has a flaw – debilitating fear. When I first read this book, I too suffered from the kind of anxiety/fear that paralyzed me at times. It would keep me inside the house on days when I had other plans. It would distract me to the point of obsession if I was forced to carry on with plans instead of hiding. This kind of fear had held me captive since childhood, like Sara, and it took me down personality roads that I never dreamed I would travel. Sara’s raw honesty about her fear and her broken courage in spite of it encouraged me at the time, and though it would be several more years before I found freedom from my own chains I needed to know I wasn’t alone – even if my compatriot happened to be fictional.
3) Darn good writing. I just plain did not want to put it down, and it has stood the test of time with me. Danger In The Shadows is a book that I still pick up and read every now and then, and I’m just as engaged today as I was 16 years ago. Even though I know how it ends. Even though there aren’t any surprises anymore. To me, this is the mark of a stellar author – to be able to still hold your attention when all the cards are already on the table.
Speaking of darn good writing, Danger in the Shadows won Dee Henderson the following awards:
- RITA Award given by Romance Writers of America for Best Inspirational Romance (2000)
- Booksellers’ Best Award (2000)
- OKRWA National Readers’ Choice Award for Inspirational (1999)
Check out the book at your local bookstore or library and add it to your TBR list. You won’t be sorry!! I would let you borrow my copy but, you know, I’d have to write up that whole contract/guidelines thing and frankly I’d rather be reading so I can find my new favorite book. 🙂
What about you? Have you read this book? What did you think?
I have the original cover of Danger in the Shadows as well, and what an incredibly broken spine accompanies it! This book has long been one of my absolute faves! Such great writing and you can’t help but fall in love with the characters!