Fiction review: The Forgotten Life of Evelyn Lewis

The Forgotten Life of Evelyn Lewis is a debut novel by Jane Rubietta, but you’d never guess it. Little by little, the fascinating plot reveals repressed memories.

Evelyn “Evie” Lewis is a successful interior designer, much sought-after by New York City’s real estate owners. But, her world is rocked with two events: a client goes bankrupt, which means Evie may not be able to pay her own company’s bills, and she inherits her mother’s homeplace in Tennessee. The problem was, the property she planned to fix up and sell came with a clause: she had to live there for three months. Three months … and her company was on the verge of bankruptcy.

Her old motto, “Get in, get out” had always helped her cope. Why was she having nightmares and flashbacks now? What had happened in her childhood? Why did her parents leave her?

Evie has to stay or she doesn’t get the property. Much to her surprise, she begins to be enveloped in the neighborliness of the townspeople—or is it love? She feels part of the community and even family for the first time in her life.

Follow her as she gets to know them and as she begins to care. A little bit at a time, Evie finds her past. Some is earthshakingly tragic, and some of it is beautiful.

There’s a lot I could say about this novel. I loved it! The writing is masterful. It pulled me in before the second page. There’s a little bit of everything in the plot: humor, pathos, romance, and lots of genuine love. I enjoyed the details about rehabilitating the old house and how the author revealed Evie’s story a little at a time while also surprising with complications and twists.

I looked for Ms. Rubietta’s author page, and found out she has written and co-written several non-fiction and devotional books, but this is her first novel.

I loved The Forgotten Life of Evelyn Lewis, and I think you will, too.

Clean, Christian, some pre-marital kisses, but no sensual content at all. The plot includes “evangelistic dating,” which, of course, I don’t recommend. Though you may want to chat with your daughters beforehand, I think your teen girls would enjoy this as much as you will.

Fiction review: Kill Order

I recently featured an interview with Author Adam Blumer, which you can access here. Today, I give you my review of his suspense novel, Kill Order.

The diagnosis is brain cancer, a tumor, operable but not curable. Landon Turner is a concert pianist. He’s already lost peripheral vision, and it appears he might lose his life. The only hope is in a “miracle worker surgeon,” one who claims to have healed others.

Can things get worse? As in most thrillers, they do. Instead of healing medicine, the surgeon implanted Landon’s brain with some kind of chip that enabled the bad guys to tell Landon what to do—even when he should be sleeping.

He wakes up with blood all over his clothes and turns himself in to the police. The officer takes him away, and soon, Landon realizes that this policeman is on the wrong side. He’s in league with the enemy—whoever that is.

Landon knows he must flee. He’s not sure how to escape, but he knows he will be killed—and maybe even kill others—if he doesn’t.

I’ll let you read the rest. I could hardly put this down. Kill Order is scary, exciting, full of action, and has heart. There’s everything: romance, spiritual growth, concerned parents, memory repression and recovery, and of course, the kill order.

I loved it, loved it, loved it.

Adam Blumer’s writing is excellent, and this plot will keep you turning pages until the very end—which is satisfying and leaves you thinking.

Fiction review: Rhapsody in Red

Rhapsody in Red is a Preston Barclay Mystery, by Donn Taylor. I bought it because of its brilliant cover and a recommendation from Author Adam Blumer.

“Press,” a history professor in a more-or-less Christian University, and co-worker Mara Thorn, who’s a Wiccan hired in an attempt for the school to seem more broad-minded, happen upon the dead body of fellow teacher, Laila Sloan. Because they were the ones who found the body, they become the prime suspects in her murder.

The widowed professor and unique teacher team up to find out who killed Laila Sloan. The police have it in for Preston, and it seems justice won’t be done unless they can find the culprit themselves. Missing passkeys and strange computer messages are just the beginning of the dangers they face. “Press” gets clonked in the head, and Mara’s car is bombed. And that’s not all.

As they take the law into their own hands—and break a few in the process—Press and Mara are furloughed from their jobs. Things are desperate and dangerous. As Press and Mara get closer to the truth, the murderer and his accomplices get closer to them.

Press is “gifted” with weird musical halucinations that accompany to his life. I personally loved this quirky detail as well as the witty style of the author. Even though the protagonists were in danger while finding the truth, I had to laugh at all the humorous asides—and the music the author chose. The ending wrap-up is the best I’ve read in ages.

If you like a squeaky clean mystery with page-turning action and plot and a lot of witticisms, this one’s for you.

I loved it and can hardly wait to read another of Mr. Taylor’s books.

Five stars, for sure.

Fiction Review: Above the Fog

Above the Fog, by Karen Lynn Nolan begins with this heart-wrenching prayer from twelve-year-old Coreen: “If there really is a God then let the roof of the mine collapse on Daddy today and send him to hell, where he belongs.”

Coreen and her family live in a coal-mining town down a holler in Kentucky. It’s typical of many coal towns—dirt poor. Or, maybe we should say mud poor. The novel begins with a storm followed by a flood and great danger to all the people in the valley.

Coreen and her mother help Grandma and Coreen’s dog, Patches, climb the hill and escape the flood. Everything they owned, which wasn’t much, was left behind in their ramshackle houses.

Coreen’s mom usually escapes in a different way: into novels. She doesn’t have a life outside of them. As the river rises, she realizes with both worry and relief that her husband hasn’t come home.

Several days later, Coreen’s father is found dead—and not a soul is sorry.

Follow Coreen, her mom, and the townspeople as they find out how her father died and what he, her mother, and many others had hidden for years. Follow Coreen and her mother as they discover the truth, which helps them both rise Above the Fog.

This is a great story, real and hard, lightened with some happy moments and giving people. I loved it.

Because of thematic elements, Above the Fog is for older teens and adults, not children. There is no cursing, and sordid details are not elaborated.