When I got the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance’s monthly list of books available for review, I wasn’t sure any of them looked like something I’d pick up off the library shelf. But I went ahead and requested one.

Not because I need another book on my to-read list. But because I am trying to broaden my reading tastes. (Yes, Chelley, that means I will – someday soon, I promise – read Harry Potter.)

So when The Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry arrived in the mail, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down. [Although, let’s be honest, it would take a whole lot of something special to get this girl off the ground.]

The main reason I hesitated to read this novel was my suspicion that it would be sad. Real sad. And I was right. Berry’s book certainly has its share of sad – and then some.

But that’s not the end of the story. Thankfully, the story is one of redemption and second chances and a whole host of other not-sad things.

The reason I picked up the book in the first place – aside from my nearing deadline for writing a review – was actually one of the endorsements on the back from another author whose blog about writing fiction I subscribe to.

Christina Berry is a woman who really understands how men think.
The Familiar Stranger
had me from the very first sentence,
and it kept me flipping pages right through to the end.
It’s a terrific debut novel and I’ll be watching eagerly for her next one.
~ Randy Ingermanson, Christy award-winning author of Oxygen

I have to agree with Randy. The author did a great job (as far as I can tell) of getting inside not only the female protagonist’s mind, but also the man in the story, too. And she doesn’t pull any punches. Don’t expect to fall in love with the main character’s husband in those first few pages, but do expect to be hooked!

For a few days, I read this in every spare second. Even toward the end, when I was pretty sure I knew what would happen, I just kept reading. (And, for the record, I was mostly right, thanks to my vast consumption of stories in all mediums. Still, Grey’s Anatomy has nothing on this complicated story!)

Here’s the summary, and you can read more about the author on her website.

Craig Littleton’s decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise . . . if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.

They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, they discover dark secrets. An affair? An emptied bank account? A hidden identity? An illegitimate child?

But what will she do when she realizes he’s not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?

Have you read any [unexpectedly] good books lately?


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