Friday, July 18, 2014

"rope of sand" by c.f. dunn

About the book (from the publisher): The third installment of the acclaimed romantic thriller series

This third volume, set in rural Maine’s deep winter, follows the developing relationship between British historian, Emma D’Eresby, and American surgeon, Matthew Lynes. Emma unravels Matthew’s alarming past and begins to comprehend how very diff erent her future might be with a man whose identity must never be revealed.

Emma nervously meets Matthew’s family. She encounters his seventy-year-old son, Henry, and learns how unique the family really is. As Christmas approaches, it is clear that Emma is not welcomed by all: what does Matthew’s great-granddaughter have against her, and what might his sinister psychiatrist granddaughter, Maggie, be prepared to do?

Bound by their faith, Matthew and Emma have accepted that they must wait to be together until his wife dies. Very reluctantly, Emma meets Ellen—an elderly woman with a core of steel—and learns how living with Matthew will mean concealment and lies. How can they have a life together?

My take: When I picked up Rope of Sand, my first thought was, "How on earth will I remember all that led up to this novel?" It's the third book in C. F. Dunn's The Secrets of the Journal series, and I read the first books two years ago and one year ago, respectively. So I was quite pleased to discover that before the book begins, there's a section called "The Story So Far," which clearly and concisely summarizes the events leading up to Rope of Sand. Hurray! (I wish more authors would do this ...)

Rope of Sand finds Emma in a difficult place—she's finally clear about where she stands with Matthew, but she struggles to fit in with his family, and then there's the matter of his wife. Honestly, I struggled with Matthew and Emma's relationship quite a bit—it never became sexual, but it was adulterous in every other way. The situation is certainly unique, with Matthew unable to age and his wife old and physically incapacitated. But a marriage vow is a marriage vow, and I couldn't help but feel a bit "icky" about the relationship.

Aside from that, though, I really enjoyed Rope of Sand. Emma's interactions with Matthew's family were fascinating, and the twists the plot took, especially with the reintroduction of Kort Staahl, were unexpected and gripping. I also enjoyed the gradual revealing of Emma's gifts, though they haven't been adequately explained by the end of the novel.

I thought that Rope of Sand might be the end of the series, but it most certainly isn't, and for that I'm glad. I'm eager to find out what will happen next with Matthew and Emma (especially since some of the obstacles to their being together have been removed), and I'm very curious about Emma's abilities.

Content note: In addition to the aforementioned relationship, the book also contains some mild expletives and sexual innuendo. Nothing is explicit.

My rating: 4 stars

Buy the book.
Read my reviews of books one and two, Mortal Fire and Death Be Not Proud.

About the author: C. F. Dunn runs a school in North Kent for children with developmental disabilities, dyslexia, autism, and other difficulties. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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