Select one of the keywords
No Dark Valley    by Jamie Langston Turner order for
No Dark Valley
by Jamie Langston Turner
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2004 (2004)
*   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Celia Coleman's parents died while she was in high school, so she went to live with her grandmother, a strictly religious woman. Celia is a rebellious teen, always pushing boundaries to the limit. Disappointing her extended family when she attends a secular college, Celia doesn't return to her small home town again until her grandmother's funeral. This event precipitates a time of introspection, and Celia begins to look at the way she has run from close relationships, especially from one with God. A mistake in her past continues to haunt her, and although she has a good job and a decent life, Celia feels something is missing.

Bruce Healey meets Celia and is attracted, despite the fact that she seems to bring out the bumbling, irritating side of him. Bruce's relationship with God is fairly new, but he's on a path of discovery and forgiveness. Can Celia and Bruce find common ground and forge a friendship? Can Celia find her way back to God?

The novel takes an interesting look at journeys through a dark time in life to the light of God on the other side. Although the general themes of the book are intriguing, it suffers from an over abundance of description, which becomes tedious and drags the pace to a slow crawl. Celia's story is engrossing at first, so that the reader can sympathize and possibly empathize with her struggles. Yet after 200 pages of a great deal of inner strife (and not much dialogue), the resolution of Celia's problem is only mentioned as an afterthought, and never properly dealt with in the story. This also happens with Celia's faith journey and with Bruce and Celia's relationship - the reader never gets to see the progression of their romance, so the final chapter, although sweet, rings false.

I have read many books by the author and have always enjoyed the storylines. This one seems in need of editing to improve the pacing and allow the reader to experience the story rather than read about it after the fact. But the message is uplifting, so those who like Christian fiction will find something to appreciate in No Dark Valley.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews