Thursday, December 13, 2007
Review: What Lies Within
I got my first exposure to Karen Ball at the 2005 ACFW conference. It was my first writing conference, and she was the keynoter. She did an amazing job of blending humor, heart-wrenching honesty, and spiritual depth in her talks.
What Lies Within is the first of her books that I have read all the way through. I picked up Shattered Justice a year or so ago when it first came out, and hate to admit that I just couldn't get in to it. I'm not even sure why, other than it started with the main character becoming a widower and his struggles balancing job and kids. Maybe with two young kids I just couldn't stomach the topic.
What Lies Within I enjoyed from page one. I really shouldn't be reading new books right now. I am under a tight deadline -- for that matter I shouldn't be writing reviews, but the book was that good.
Kyla Justice is a woman who has wrapped herself in shield of fear and anger. On the outside she's a successful businesswoman who could be engaged to a successful man who seems to love her. And she wants to fall into that relationship because it's safe. She doesn't feel anything.
Then she becomes involved in a building project that could cost her everything, but has deep meaning for the community in which the project is located. The local gang doesn't want them there, a land developed will do anything to stop them, and on every side events seem to conspire against finishing the building by deadline.
She takes the project on and has to learn to let go. Isn't that a lesson many of us have to learn. We jump into projects that we know we can handle. We are capable. But we need to let God direct us and let others help us. The scene where Kyla is confronted with the mirror image of who she is plays out very powerfully.
And the romance is filled with twists and angst. The romance wraps up almost too neatly in the final scene, but I think this is the final book in a trilogy, so from that vantage point it works.
I had a couple problems with the timeline on the book...and the prologue isn't really a prologue. Once I understood that it helped, but didn't cure the other timeline challenges. But the book is well written and packed with conflict.