Several years ago for my birthday, my publisher sent me a copy of Jamie Langston Turner's fiction titled, Some Wildflower in My Heart. It was one of the most impacting novels I've read. Written tight, Turner boldly put a face on victimization. I frequently had to put the book down to catch my breath, but was soon drawn back to see what would happen next. That book earned great admiration for Turner, and when an acquaintance commented that Christian fiction often fell short of industry standard and life was too short for wimpy fiction, I sent her a copy.
My first experience with Turner's work made me eager to read another book from this author. Readers will glimpse characters from Some Wildflower in My Heart in her latest in this fiction series, No Dark Valley.
I'm glad I read Some Wildflower in My Heart first, because No Dark Valley didn't grip me. The story wanders, and by chapter eight I was still in the dark about where the plot was going. Throughout the book I was distracted by long descriptions of characters that were not heard from again, nor necessary to the story. The mundane thoughts of the main characters got a lot of space, as well.
In an interesting style, the author takes the reader right up to an action point, and then changes scenes. The reader is left to think nothing happened until later, when Turner refers back to the action that happened right after the reader was moved away. Rather like leaving a movie theater before the show begins and having a friend who stayed tell you about the movie later. Her writing style in this book is a lot of telling, rather than showing.
Throughout the narrative, Turner weaves in familiar hymn titles and lyrics. The last forty pages were my favorite part as she delivers action, a thinking and sensitive prince charming, and pokes good-humored fun at the writing clichés she dared to include. – PeggySue Wells, Christian Book Previews.com
She had expected to feel angry. Anger was the kind of emotion that could carry you through a funeral with perfect composure. She hadn’t expected to look down at her grandmother and be flooded with this strange conglomeration of guilt, regret, curiosity, sadness….
Her grandmother’s funeral meant Celia Coleman must return to the small town she had hoped never to see again. The memories of that long-ago home and church—and of her own behavior there—are not happy ones. But now the floodgates are about to open….
Bruce Healey is struggling with guilt over his own past, and Celia wants nothing to do with this neighbor of hers. But when God lifts them each from their dark valleys of shame, their hearts could indeed be ready to give and receive love….