Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book Review: "Liberation Song" (Raelee May Carpenter)

Alexandra Adelaide lives with her daughter Aggie on a quiet street in a well-behaved neighborhood in a suburb of Los Angeles. The lie that their life together really is might have gone on being a lie forever ... until Alex and Aggie encounter Matt Gold, who lives and works nearby.

With that meeting, something begins between Alex and Matt that is beyond either of their control. Dangerous secrets rise to the fore, threatening to tear apart their growing love for one another.

For neither Alex nor Aggie is who they seem, and the people they're running from have just resurfaced on the grid after years of smoldering silence.

Author Raelee May Carpenter presents her Christian romantic suspense Liberation Song, a sweet yet unexpected work founded on her obvious faith that will leave you facing soul-deep questions of your own.

Alex, as a character, seems to represent fear personified if I ever saw it in fiction. She's spent most of her life running in some way, and her current state in L.A. is no different. She works to control all the possible variables that might rise up and cause a crisis in her life, and regret it though she might, she's raised Aggie in the same spirit of fear.

Somehow, though, the little girl manages (with poignant childlike faith) to outstrip her mother in trust and hope, things that Alex never really understood or thought she'd ever be able to feel herself.

For his part, Matt represents grace, which is almost as much a character in the story as the actual "people" characters are. His patience, compassion, depth of insight and wisdom keep Alex off-balance as she struggles to navigate the new foreign emotions and relationship that his presence has caused.

Themes explored, aside from the faith-based ones already mentioned, include betrayal, loss, regret, love, second chances, and family, among others.

The work would benefit from a close edit and proofread to catch inconsistencies and to eliminate the occasional typos and errors in punctuation, which tended to toss my attention out of the story. Further, much of the inner thoughts of the characters, and dialogue between them, tends toward long, drawn-out explanations of Christian concepts that people who aren't Christians may find tiresome at the least or "preachy" at worst.

The timeline of the story is also occasionally difficult to follow, as it skips between the current "present" and the past, represented in flashbacks from other characters' viewpoints (whereas Alex is the only one whose viewpoint represents the "present"). I had a difficult time putting the flashbacks in some kind of chronological order, since they are presented out of order and lack a consistent timeline.

Additionally, while suspense certainly runs through the story with admirable consistency, I was unable to suspend my disbelief at some of the content, such as interactions with law enforcement and the standard operating procedures (SOPs, for the technically minded) for witness protection. Someone actually in law enforcement might be inclined to put the book down, even if reading for pleasure, due to what I'm relatively sure are professional inaccuracies.

Finally, before the story was over, my head was reeling with characters whose names begin with the letter A ... Alexandra and Aggie Adelaide just three of the many. I suppose I question whether it was necessary to use so many names that start with the same letter when, in fact, it caused me to have to skip back in the book and reread sections to remember who was who.

Nonetheless, if you're looking for a sweet-minded Christian romance with a dash of intrigue and no objectionable content, Liberation Song will suit just fine.

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Author: Raelee May Carpenter
Title: Liberation Song
ISBN: 978-1-63213-100-3
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the author in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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