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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prodigal by Robin Bayne

Prodigal by Robin Bayne
Publisher: White Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Short (49 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Edelweiss

Daniel Gardner is making a grand entrance at his brother’s wedding. The problem is, no one has seen him in years. Unsure of his welcome, this prodigal son needs the years and the hearts of his family to miraculously melt…but he may not be the only one needing to make amends. Lane Taylor doesn’t realize how much she still loves Daniel until she’s standing face-to-face with him after so many years apart. Once upon a time, they’d dreamed of a life together. Now, when it seems they might get a second chance, she has to decide whether to divulge the secret she’s sure will shatter their happily-ever-after.
As the title suggests, Prodigal is the story of a man who returns to his family and hometown after an unexplained disappearance lasting seven years. We learn immediately the reason for his return. But a web of mystery swirls around the why of his original disappearance. And herein lies the story’s main appeal. The author skillfully weaves multiple layers of suspense around past events and their implications for the future. Plot pace is strong: another strength. And it more than compensates for prose that is competent but undistinguished in smoothness and in the word pictures it conjures.

This piece is written from an inspirational viewpoint, and the interplay of faith assisting characters in stress is well done. It is a refreshing aspect of the reading experience.

This piece has two weakness that are related. One is that the characters lack color, an issue compounded by dialogue that does little to distinguish the characters and bring them to life. Out of that grows the second weakness, which is the denouement. Although satisfying from a plot standpoint, it lacks the emotional punch that the reader is anticipating after such an intricately choreographed buildup of suspense.

But on balance, Prodigal is a satisfying read. Its suspense is a thrill for a love story of this type, and the mystery of past events will hold you for the entire story.