Laurie Burke is a young woman whose family is making all kinds of choices that directly affect her life. She desperately wants a good life for herself, and yet feels that her family's struggles define her. She has taken on the role of "fixer". But it's not too long into this story that her desire to have a "perfect" family and a "perfect" life gets her into the deepest trouble she's ever seen.
The theme that caught at me and will remain with me for a while, is that we all desire a perfect life. We all wish there were no secrets in our history. We all tend to want to "fix" things for the ones we love. We all become jaded when something or someone isn't as "perfect" as we think they are, or ought to be.
But God is the One who is the Rescuer, Jesus is the One He sent to be the Ultimate Fixer. We all need forgiveness from some messy little thing called SIN. Everyone has some kind of struggle, and when we stop looking at the struggles, and start looking at Jesus, we begin to find the answers to life.
Don't get me wrong. This book isn't preachy! But these are the thoughts that reading it today has inspired. Great read, great job, Ms. Barnett!
Karen Barnett has penned an impressive debut novel, setting her story in a unique era and place, during the days of prohibition in Washington State. Laurie and Daniel are intriguing characters, devoted to their families and willing to pay the price for keeping secrets, even dancing along the tightrope of illegality. Without resorting to cliches or hiding from the realities of alcoholism and criminal activity, Karen tells a story of loyalty, pride, forgiveness, and love. I appreciated the way Karen allowed her characters to genuinely wrestle with moral dilemmas, to be torn between their desire to love and protect their family members and the potential damage to their reputation and spiritual conscience. With appealing protagonists and authentic villains, Mistaken provides a captivating and satisfying read which will appeal to romance and suspense readers alike. I look forward to more from this talented author.
Laurie's brother is involved in a local gang running illegal booze from Canada during Prohibition, and the new man in town, Daniel Shepherd is involved as well. Laurie hates the business the effect alcohol has had on her family, and the fact that all the men in her life seem to be controlled by it, one way or another. Yet she finds herself attracted to Daniel.
Things get complicated when another new face arrives in town: Samuel Brown, a handsome federal agent working to eliminate the illegal trade in alcohol, who is also interested in Laurie. Although her head says Samuel is the better choice, her feelings are conflicted, not least because of her brother's involvement in rum-running.
We get a hint of one of the main plot conflicts in Mistaken's subtitle: First impressions are never what they seem. Literary buffs may recall that the original title of Pride and Prejudice was First Impressions, and there is something of the Lizzie Bennett in Laurie Burke (not merely the initials). Like Lizzie Bennett, Laurie is embarrassed by her family: in her case, by her alcoholic father. Her initial impressions of people are incorrect, and she makes other errors of character judgement in the same way as Lizzie did. I'll let you figure out the other similarities yourself.
Mistaken is Karen Barnett's debut novel, and it's excellent. I find that a lot of Christian fiction, especially historical fiction, starts to get repetitive in the themes, plots, characters and settings. Mistaken is set in a small coastal town about twenty miles south of the Canadian border during the Prohibition era, and alcohol plays a major role in the story. It's an original time setting, and an original plot, and I liked that.
And the author doesn't shy away from the problems alcohol causes and the effect it has on family members. Her writing is more challenging than most Christian fiction, as Laurie has to negotiate some difficult moral choices with no black and white answer. The characters are real, facing problems in a world where the right thing to do isn't the easy thing to do. And while this is Christian fiction and Laurie's faith ultimately helps her in finding the answer to her conundrum, the Christian aspect is very understated. Recommended.
Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.