"Shadow in Serenity" by Terri Blackstock is a roller coaster of a readâ€”it twists and turns through loops as you race along the words to find out what happens next. What else would you expect from the fascinating premise of a conman trying to deceive an ex-con artist who grew up in the craziness of a traveling carnival?
Charming Logan Brisco arrives in Serenity well prepared to relieve the unsuspecting inhabitants of their hard earned savings. He promises them an amusement park to revive their failing economy, but Carny Sullivan sees through him immediately. After all, her parents trained her to be a con artist and she knows all the tricks of the trade. The kindness of the Serenity folk has allowed her to build a happy secure life for her son, and she is determined to expose Logan and his destructive scheme in order to protect the town. But Logan endears himself to the town and no one believes her.
I enjoyed this book and a Ferris Wheel of questions filled my mind so that I had to keep reading. Would Logan change? Would he develop a conscience? Would he believe and trust in God? How could he be sure that God believed in him? Could a person have too much baggage to change? Would he destroy Serenity?
And what about Carny, the Harley-riding widow who flew planes for a living? Would she be able to stop Logan? Would she trust Logan? Should she trust him? Was he deceiving her?
These questions were answered at the end of the book in a most satisfying conclusion.
I highly recommend this well-written book. Although light hearted on the surface, it's underpinned by a strong Christian message.
Thank you to Shelton Interactive for a free review copy. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions expressed above are my own.
Con man Logan Brisco breezes into Serenity, Texas, with the aim of relieving it's good citizens of their cash. Carny Sullivan is a widowed single mom who grew up surrounded by con artists, and who is not about to let her friends get ripped off by Logan, despite his good looks and endless charm. Carny makes no secret of her desire to bring Logan down a peg or two, and her challenge both amuses and intrigues him, setting the scene for some colourful goings-on.
But trying to persuade a town full of honest people that Logan is running a con might be more than Carny can manage. Meanwhile, Logan is excited by the challenge Carny presents, and stays in town even though it is against the 'rules' of a good con. However, as Logan spends longer in Serenity, he develops relationships with more of the people, and his perceptions gradually begin to change. Meanwhile, Carny knows from her own life that God can change anyone, even a con artist, and begins to doubt her initial impressions of Logan.
Basically, this was a hoot. The scenes between Carny and Logan were consistently underpinned by an amusing combination of mistrust and attraction, the story was fun, and the book had the desired ending without in any way appearing predictable. I really enjoyed this as a fun read underpinned by a sound Christian message.
Terri Blackstock was published in the general market before she became a Christian, and this book was previously published with another title and under a pseudonym. Terri has now revised and updated it for the Christian market. The new and revised passages are well integrated into the overall story, and there is no sign that you are actually reading an updated book.
Thanks to Zondervan and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Serenity, Texas is a town in decline. One of its citizens, is Carny Sullivan. She had grown up in the crazy world of the carnival and had survived a hurtful marriage. Now she and her son enjoy the quiet town, her flying service, and her relationship with the Lord.
Then a handsome fellow, Logan Brisco, comes into town. He has ideas of making the town alive again. Be plans to build an amusement park just outside of town. It would draw thousands and bring life back into the community. He says he has investors lined up. All he needs is the people of Serenity to buy into the project and invest some of their own money.
But Carny can spot a con artist when she sees one. She tries to warn the people of her beloved town, to no avail. And then she begins to fall for him.
Logan begins to have feelings for her. He knows he shouldn't let his emotions get in the way of his money making scheme.
Should Carny trust her head or her heart? Is she just one more conquest for this con artist?
This is certainly a character driven romance. The typical romance plot of boy and girl love each other but there is an "insurmountable" problem that needs to be conquered, is the major aspect of this novel. In fact, it repeats several times. For me, it was a bit too much. I thought the novel could have been shorter, say around the typical 300 pages. The plot did drag on. I would not rank this among one of Blackstock's best, and I have read most of her work. On a positive note, I did learn how carnival people make their money.