This story moves quickly, with tension and action, as well as inspiration. Chris Fabry has a wonderful writing style. I can relate to the characters and understand their motivations. It is a clean, well-written story reflecting different characters' varying points of view. I enjoyed his colorful descriptions of the desert and its animals. He mentioned desert plants that made me look up the words, so I got a good picture of the setting. We learn something new about the characters in just about every chapter, and the plot keeps us turning pages. There is danger, and people have varying ways of reacting to the danger, and learning from the events. I also favor a happy ending - and this one works well, after the nuances of the plot surprise us.
"Borders of the Heart" was much more than I expected from its synopsis. The plot is full of twists and turns and thickens with every turn of the page. I was also really impressed with the way Chris Fabry handled the very current and controversial issue of illegals and our porous southern border with compassion and insight from both sides. I doubt anyone would regret reading this book!
Summary: A farmhand on an organic farm finds an illegal immigrant while out riding fences. Instead of turning her over to border control, he takes her home, cleans her up, takes off the handcuff on her wrist, gets her medical help, and finds himself in way over his head after he realizes that she is being followed by assassins. Torn between his desire to help and his painful past, J.D. makes the first steps forward to reclaiming himself and his future.
Honestly, I preferred Fabry's Not In the Heart to this novel. While the two share some of the same themes (redemption, forgiveness, sacrifice), this novel fell short when it came to pacing. About half way through the book, through multiple separations, shootings, and changes in location, I was beginning to lose track of what happened where and who was the bad guy. The entire novel is one long car chase. Hopefully later editions will include a map of Arizona in the front cover. Otherwise, major portions felt confusing.
There was a lot of violence. Characters drugged, shot, hit by cars, beheaded, stabbed. I can think of six important characters who died throughout the plot right off the top of my head, not to mention any incidental deaths. While contextually it made sense, and none of the descriptions were gratuitous, if you don't care for that sort of thing, don't bother reading this book.
Finally, for me the confusing settings and high violence obscured some of the character growth in the story. I could sit down and read it again to try and catch the details, but there isn't quite enough plot content for that. So instead I'll give this three stars for good idea, decent execution, and honest motives, and see what Fabry writes next.