Bound by Guilt mesmerized me from page one. The characters were deep and three dimensional. The plot was well thought out and integrated with a strong subplot. What kept me turning each page were the surprises. The characters did unexpected things and made curious choices, yet none of it came from left field-all the surprises made sense, after the fact of course :-) The ending was probably my favorite of any book. You must read it yourself to know what I am talking about!
Bound by Guilt is an outstanding book. It is the story of Roxi, a young girl who has never known the love that most of us take for granted. She was deserted and rejected by her mother and bounced around from foster home to foster home, always seeking a love that continued to elude her. In a misguided effort to earn that love, she is taken in by a relative and made to be an accomplice in a monetarily profitable rare book stealing trio.
When theft turns to something far more serious, Roxi flees. She is taken in by a husband and his wife who own a ranch. It is there that she finally learns the true meaning of love - unconditional love that loves no matter what the circumstances may be. She learns too about Christ's love, a love that is granted not, as the saying goes, because of who we are, but in spite of who we are.
The Biblical principles of love and forgiveness are prevalent throughout the pages of this book. From its beautiful cover to the final page, this book will draw you in and keep you captivated. I highly recommend Bound by Guilt and I will definitely be watching for future books from C.J. Darlington.
An antiquarian bibliophile I'm not. But for those who are, it's a high-stakes book collection! Books can range from $40 up to $40,000 for just one book!
This is the world Roxi Gold finds herself landing into, 'rescued' from the life of a foster-home shuffled, abandoned girl, when her Aunt Irene Tonelli and her son, Diego, finally take her in. Traveling the country, they stake out bookstores and steal the rare, preferably first edition books, to sell to make a living for themselves. How did Roxi ever get this low? Will she ever get out?
Officer Abby Dawson's life has become a job, not the career of â€˜saving the world' that she once dreamed of. It's after one of the bookstore heists that her life changes forever. She's looking for justice by the law, while Roxi is running from the law.
C.J. Darlington, in Bound by Guilt, wrapped multiple meanings into her title. She delineates the different levels of depravity of life-extreme selfishness, greed, danger, illegality, and murder. The intensity of danger leaps from the pages of the book. But she displays the love and acceptance that definitely touches the depth of your heart as the story unfolds.
C.J. does an excellent job of mixing the different personalities of the characters and the power some have over the others. Their lives are very real-to-life, ranging from pain-filled and lonely, to fearful and anxious, to sharp and legalistic, to uncaring and greedy, and finally to love and acceptance. A lot like some of our lives today during different seasons of our lives.
Although justice is one of the main thrusts of the book, C.J. brings in the realms of truthfulness, forgiveness, and unconditional love, which she uses to bring about the first in a way that draws you through the book, page after page after page! Great job, C. J.!
I enjoyed meeting Christy's sister once again from C.J.'s first book, Thicker Than Blood, and how she ministered to those in grief in Bound by Guilt. You'll have to read the first book to find out more about her!
This book was provided by TitleTrakk in exchange for my honest review. No monetary value was exchanged.
I was intrigued by the beautifully bound book and the troubled teen on the front cover. I was thrilled to receive a review copy of such a tension filled, heartfelt book. This novel kept me spellbound on many levels, as C.J. took me through the homey Book Barn - a place I'd love to go and explore its treasures myself. The author's passion for books and her book experience shines through in this haunting, suspenseful tale of a teen caught in a hopeless web she struggles to get out of. Contrast to a female cop named Abby, a character who feels trapped in a different kind of situation! She too is looking for a way out!
Roxie longed for a family of her own and a place to call home. She was abandoned by her mom and shuffled though the foster care system at a young age, ending up with a distant relative. Roxi felt trapped in the family business she wanted no part of. But where would she go? If she didn't comply, they'd give her back to foster care and she couldn't have that.
Abby Dawson is a cop with an attitude. She joined the force to help people and clean up the streets. Abby felt she did very little good when the bad guys she wanted to put away, ended up back on the streets. Life didn't quite seem fair in the legal system or in her personal life either. Where was she headed? Did her life have any meaning?
Then Roxi and Abby's life change in an instant! Abby receives a phone call from her dad that rocks her world, and sets Abby on a new path in life. Roxi has started down a new path as well...one she never thought she'd be on - ever. Will this event be the end to both of them? Or will they both seek the truth and be set free, in more ways than one.
The author says, "If you take away one thing from Bound by Guilt, may it be the challenge to look past outward appearances and reach out to a hurting teen in your life. Teenagers, even those with tattoos and nose rings, need people like you and me to love them for who they are. I hope we can be Jesus' hands and feet and love this generation unconditionally,"
While reading this story I could sense the authors' soft spot for teens and the people society throws away. This is a book that will touch your heart, mind and emotions. It will also get you thinking about how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus in your corner of the world. C.J.'s a deep thinker and full of love that radiates on every page she writes. She shows how God uses flawed characters' to do amazing things in their lives if we let Him!
C. J. Darlington has been in the antiquarian book selling business for over a decade. Her passion for books and the experiences she's had in book selling bleeds through in every chapter. It was enthralling. In the author notes, C.J. mentions she used a real life story as the back drop to this book. It made the story all the more interesting for me. I enjoyed how C.J. took the reader behind the scenes of the mysterious world of antique books, buyers, sellers and thieves. The world that C.J. creates is sincere, interesting, suspenseful and clever!
I can't wait to have my book club read and discuss this book. You'll definitely want to read this book, I'm sure you'll be talking about it to friends and co-workers.
The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com
C.J. Darlington's second novel continues the antiquarian book setting, but from a different perspectiveâ€”that of those stealing the treasures. Roxi, an unwanted 16-year-old, is forced into theft by Irene, a distant relative who took her in. Along with Irene's son, Diego, they travel in a motor home and pilfer from unsuspecting bookstores. When they hit Dawson's Book Barn (introduced in Thicker Than Blood), the lives of all involved are irrevocably changed.
Roxi runs off on her own. She rebuffs those who try to help her, but reaches out to a discarded, injured dog. Roxi names her adopted pet Selah and gives of her own meager food to the pup. When Roxi's life becomes intertwined with Jan and Keith Mercer, the couple's unconditional love and acceptance begin to break through her shell. The way they embraced this troubled teen touched my heart. Their sacrificial love and care provides a great example to pattern our lives after. It reminds me of 1 Peter 4:8. As Jan said, "If real love was based on perfection, none of us would have a chance." So true!
Darlington realistically developed her characters and showed how God worked a change in their lives when they were willing to risk. I recommend this book, which can be enjoyed without having savored her first but has an even stronger impact when you know what happened previously. The story may help others who are bound by guilt to find freedom.