Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Heaven's Blue by Penelope Marzec

Awe-Struck, 1587494450, $4.75

Samantha Lyons needs an assistant to help her complete her mosquito research in order to maintain her grants, and her home in quiet Clam Creek. David Halpern needs cash and a place to stay, not just for himself but also for his young son, James. A chance meeting in a church parking lot over a case of mistaken automobile identity brings the two together, and David and James readily take residence in Samantha's guest quarters, but neither Samantha nor David realize the coming impact of their working relationship.

While Samantha and James take an immediate shine to one another, David proves a more tenuous venture. The two clash over James socializing with Clam Creek's more colorful citizens (the flighty spinster Marion, cursed with a facial tic brought on by her mother's demands; the aptly named Fish, always coming by with the fresh catch), but mostly their arguments center around faith, of which Samantha has plenty and David none. Considering David's plight -- having to quit a lucrative job to keep his son away from his abusive ex-wife -- it is understandable, but when his situation comes to light followed by a string of unrelated events, Samantha's faith is tested and is barely able to help her as she struggles with her feelings for David.

With her second inspirational romance (third overall), author Marzec continues to introduce readers to well-rounded characters, deftly crafting their emotions and dialogue into a story of faith and forgiveness - not only of others, but of oneself. Readers who have had the opportunity to enjoy Marzec's impressive debut SEA OF HOPE will not be disappointed with this most recent tale set along the Jersey Shore.

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