Shuttled between foster homes, Roxi Gold will do anything to fit in. Soon she’s traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society—and not just at work. One fateful night, both their lives are changed forever. One searches for justice, the other finds herself on the run. Will the power of forgiveness set them free?
Amy’s Review: Bound by Guilt is an action-packed page turner that will keep you riveted to the end when you will feel satisfied by a story well-told. This is the kind of work readers can expect from C.J. Darlington, who wowed the literary world with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood. And, if possible, the sequel may be even better.Once again, we return to the Book Barn and Christy Williams, who so heroically fought her alcohol addiction, reunited with her sister, and fought off a crazy ex-boyfriend in Thicker Than Blood. But this time, Christy is cop Abby Dawson’s “partner” in a murder investigation, after a shocking character death that occurs in the first 50 pages!
However, this story doesn’t primarily center around Christy, but her fiancé’s sister, Abby as well as our main protagonist, Roxi Gold, a 16 year-old girl, who finds herself in a heap of trouble after being involved in the aforementioned shocking murder. But Roxi is a sympathetic character, who has been bounced around in the foster care system since she was abandoned by her mother at the tender age of eight. After running away from her mom’s deranged antiquarian book thieving cousin, Irene, and her son, Diego, Roxi finds herself with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. Similarly, Abby, who is tracking down the trio, is just as lost. Darlington marvelously reminds readers that redemption from the guilt to which we are bound, our sin, is found in Christ alone.
Against the backdrop of the beautiful Colorado Mountains, Darlington weaves her tale. Her descriptions of setting and character are detailed and she always keeps the plot moving at a steady clip. One fault I find with this novel is that Abby Dawson seems a little flat and one-dimensional. I didn’t find myself emotionally invested in Abby, nor did I find her terribly interesting. She was just helpful in moving the story forward. My other hang-up is that while the Christian characters in this book say they are flawed, I don’t actually see any evidence of these flaws. For example, Christy Williams enters a bar after learning of the tragic murder and almost drinks, but she doesn’t. In fact, she doesn’t seem to have any of the problems she did in the first book. I think adding a bit of an edge to these characters would make them more believable.
Still, I immensely enjoyed Bound by Guilt and cannot wait to read more of C.J. Darlington’s delectable writing.
*Thank you to Tyndale House for my review copy of this book. In an effort to “keep it real,” I should disclose that I am a contributor to TitleTrakk.com, the site co-founded by C.J. and her sister, Tracy.*
Great job! You kept me turning the pages.
—Francine Rivers, Internationally best selling author
C.J. is a wonderful, talented writer . . . extraordinary . . .
—Bodie Thoene, best-selling author of the A.D. Chronicles
This one engages your senses and reaches your heart.
—Jerry B. Jenkins, NY Times best-selling author & owner of The Christian Writers Guild
About the Author:
C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over twelve years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore. In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site www.TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Visit her website www.cjdarlington.com