One thing that I love about being a New Christian is that there is a whole genre of fiction I have not read. It is called Christian Romantic Suspense fiction and over the last several weeks I’ve been reading books by authors in that genre.
My two favorites so far are Colleen Coble and Terri Blackstock – though I have a feeling that list is going to grow. While I’ve loved everything I’ve read by them so far (sit tight for more reviews) I wanted to begin with The Inn at the Ocean’s Edge by Colleen Coble.
Many of Coble’s books are set by the ocean and you can feel her connection to the sea in The Inn at Ocean’s Edge. While all her settings are lovely, to me, her real strength lies in the insightful and skillful way she draws her characters. Suspense comes naturally because we find ourselves invested in those characters right from the start.
The plot unravels at a very good pace and as every scene closed I found myself asking, what comes next?
Why is the main character rich girl Claire Dellamare having a panic attack? Why are their holes in her memory? Is Coast Guardsman Luke Rocca really the one?
For me, most of these answers came at the right time and made perfect sense. While I anticipated a few events in advance, the tension held because the anticipation was a guess, not a certainty.
I did notice a couple of minor hiccups in the plot – not this-is-impossible hiccups – but small things that didn’t seem completely credible (the attitude of law enforcement for example).
I really appreciated the way Cobble layered Christian faith into the story in a meaningful but balanced way. But what impressed me the most was the way Coble handled the relationships between members of two not so perfect families.
If that was me, I found myself thinking, I would walk away from that family and not look back. Except that in the real world we do not.
Coble seems to get that in way not every author does. As evidenced by a single passage at the end of the book that rang so true to me that I chose to share it with my (grown up) son.
“You have to hear this,” I told him. “It’s about family and it made me cry.”
I tried to read it out loud and then I had to stop. One more word I thought and I was going to cry again. “Here,” I said handing him my kindle. “Read it for yourself.”
We were at the kitchen table. I was cutting vegetables and I kept on cutting while he read. But I was watching him as I did. I saw that when he finished, he paused. It was just a couple seconds but I knew he was moved.
Thank you Colleen Coble for a truly lovely book!
The Inn at Ocean’s Edge is currently on sale on kindle for 8.99 and should be an easy find in most public libraries. The book ends with some great discussion questions and would be a perfect choice for any Romantic Suspense book club, Christian or not.