True Believers
 

EMERALD WINDOWS

Terri Blackstock, Author
Terri Blackstock, Author . Zondervan $10.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-310-22807-3
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-7862-4913-8
Open Ebook - 978-0-310-83026-9
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Seasoned Christian suspense novelist Blackstock disappoints with this run-of-the-mill romance. The second Christian novel this year (Linda Dorrell's True Believers is the other) to focus on the renovation of a church and, in particular, the female protagonist's design of its stained glass windows, this story features a lovestruck pair of artists who are supposed to be offbeat and tortured, but in fact are ill-defined and bland. Brooke, a 20-something stained glass artist who, amid scandal, left her hometown immediately after her high school graduation, comes back to do a job and face the gossips who drove her away. Unfortunately for readers, the scandal—a misinterpreted hug between student and teacher—has no teeth, and it strains credulity to think that any town, even the caricaturish Hayden, Mo., could make so much of so little. Also problematic is that the former teacher, who is only six years Brooke's senior, is motivated to convert her to Christianity mostly because he wants to marry her, but would never marry an unbeliever. Stereotypes abound, including a wealthy, almost mechanically mean-spirited villainess and an Italian family complete with a dead grandfather whose clichéd proverbs are remembered in over-the-top dialect ("You put-a care and-a love into everything you do, Nicky, and that's-a quality"). Blackstock generates enough interest in these characters and their predicaments to keep the pages turning, but the novel's predictable conclusion is telegraphed from the first page. (Oct.)

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