As I have stated many times in reviews, I am not generally a fan of contemporary fiction. Well, this is one of those rare occasions when I can say that I could hardly put this book down, and it is contemporary fiction. It is also Christian and includes no profanity nor bedroom scenes. But that does not mean that everything is happy and cheery all the time. I truly felt for Meg, and it was sad to watch her go down a road she didn't need to. I am not being critical of her because after all, I have never in my life lost someone I love like this.
I loved the Christian message that Ace Collins wove into the very fabric of the book. I found myself emotionally connecting with Meg more than once, and it was so glorious to see commitments to God being made. I found myself really getting angry over the defense attorney in the courtroom. And it really gets to me when I realize that the way things are described is not so far from the truth.
This is a book that can be enjoyed by all, and I believe teens should read it, too. It is a good reminder that drinking and driving don't mix.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
I just finished Darkness Before Dawn by Ace Collins. It is Powerful. It is Sad. And then--Light breaks through the Dark. It is Dawn.
What a book this is. Ace Collins has a new fan.
So what is this book, Darkness Before Dawn?
It is a story that takes people you and I know....husbands driving home late at night, young wives waiting for them with joyful news to share, the carload of boys and girls drunk on beer and scotch after a lake bonfire party. This book lets us follow their lives, lives just like ours or someone we know, and lets us see inside their minds as these lives intersect, and one of them ends.
This story begins in the darkness of night when Meg Richard's answers her phone to find a state trooper making the call no one ever wants to make or receive. He said "I am sorry to have to inform you that there has been an accident."
What he doesn't say is what she hears. "Your husband is dead. Your world is torn apart."
Steve Richards died upon impact with the drunken teen's vehicle, and his car went up in flames with his body trapped inside. This 2 AM phone call ushered the Dark Music into her bright life, Dark Music that would not stop playing for a long time.
Meg drove to the hospital to identify the body, knowing her husband by the ring on his hand. The ring that was engraved "Til death do us part."
They had been parted, at the hands of James Thomas, underage drunk who drove into the wrong lane and hit Steve head on.
There is no way on earth to bring Steve back. Meg knows this, but she also knows she can punish his killer, and make him understand the pain he caused. Darkness Before Dawn brings us down with Meg, down to the thirst for revenge, to the place where causing James Thomas harm becomes her purpose at her own expense and the expense of her baby.
As I read, I felt Meg's desire for justice. I knew why she wanted it. I hated the selfishness, the carelessness of this young man who snuffed out life in a horrible way and showed no remorse. This book pulled me into Meg's battles.
This book would not let me put it down.
Allow me to tell a little story at this point... and you will better understand why I say this is a book we all should read.
This morning I stood on the bank of a drainage ditch at the end of my local dirt road. There was a beer bottle lying in the grass near the slimy run-off water. As I picked up the sun-warmed bottle and held it in my hand, I looked down at the marks where the cars parked there had spun dirt as they pulled out. The drivers were probably young--this is one of our county's favorite hangouts for the highschoolers. If past history and the weight of the bottle in my hand meant anything, they were drinking again.
And I wished that they would stop, that the hands that had tossed this bottle would soon fold in prayer.
I wish that we could raise our young men so that they would never have to have memories of drinking. I wish we could teach them to run from the bottle. I wish we could help those who are drinking, those who have been James Thomases, to be redeemed.
Thank you Ace Collins, Abingdon Press and Litfuse for sending me Darkness Before Dawn. I will not be forgetting this one.
Yet another winning book from Ace Collins! I have previously read Yellow Packard and Christmas Star, and while I must admit candidly that Ace isn't one of my all-time favorite authors, the books are good enough that I keep reading them and anticipating reading the next one. This one dealt with some especially tough (and hard to handle) topics: hate, sorrow, resentment, revenge, pushing God away. But I felt that the author handled them very well. It was an amazingly real and understandable and sad book! I completely understood what the main character was feeling throughout the book. God was prominent throughout, but at the same time, to be blunt, He wasn't overkill. At least, I never felt like He was. Definitely there, but not pushed down a person's throat. The ending was terrific - this book is sad, like I said, but also amazing due to the redemption. I would recommend this to late teens and adults, men and women. It's a good book, and not one you'll forget in a hurry.
**Litfuse sent me a free copy of this book as part of its blog tour. I wasn't paid for this review, and wasn't required to post positively.**
Review: Well written and easy to read, this book tells the story of losing a loved one and the grieving process. This particular book deals with drunk driving and the consequences of driving under the influence. Even more important, it deals with the subject of teen drunk driving, which is a problem in our society. Even though this book is Christian fiction, no doubt it is very real to many families.
Meg Richards is the young woman whose husband is killed by a drunk teen driver. She is full of bitterness and basically turns her back on God. "How can a God of love allow such a thing to happen?" She makes it her personal goal to destroy the young man responsible for her husband's death. In addition, she receives news that she is expecting their first child within just a few hours of her husband's death. This only adds fuel to her bitter spirit.
Ultimately she does destroy the young man. But God in His grace gives her an opportunity to save the young man and restore her own heart and faith in God. The author also introduces a character who is instrumental in Meg's life. Nancy shows Meg that even though bad things happen, God is still on the throne and in control.
While I felt that the author dwelt on the "bitterness" side a little long, the ending was good. I appreciated the spotlight being put on the subject of teen drunk driving and how the decision of someone to drink and drive can have devastating and irreversible consequences. This is a book that is easy to recommend for reading.
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Darkness Before Dawn was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and publisher, Abingdon Press in exchange for our honest review.