A MORNING LIKE THIS

Deborah Bedford, Author . Warner $12.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-446-67788-2

There is currently a spate of evangelical Christian novels examining what happens when infidelity torpedoes a marriage. Bedford's take on the subject, while still flogging the same plot horse, features an unusual twist. David Treasure, his wife Abby, and their son Braden seem to have the perfect Christian family. David's adulterous affair nine years ago is about to come back to haunt them, however, in the form of an eight-year-old daughter, Samantha Roche, whom he never knew he had. Samantha desperately needs a bone transplant, and David or Braden may be her best hope. In order to help, however, David must allow his darkest secret to come to light, and things quickly unravel. Bedford lets the characters of Abby and David unfold as their marriage begins its descent into hell; she authentically portrays David's belligerent insistence that Abby should instantly forgive, and his refusal to accept responsibility for the enormity of his mistake. Abby's own feelings of anger and betrayal are well captured, and Bedford skillfully ties her heartfelt emotions and despair back to painful events in her childhood. The writing is solid, the pacing steady and the description satisfying. There are flaws; readers may feel irritated by how far Abby goes in her ability to pardon David, and David's relationship with his former lover is still a bit murky toward the end. Nevertheless, the novel's themes of forgiveness, the consequences of adultery and the cost of commitment should be well-received by CBA readers. (Sept.)