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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

A Legacy of Lies - Stephenia McGee I recently had the privilege of being asked to review Legacy of Lies Cover“A Legacy of Lies” by Stephenia McGee, an emerging Christian romance writer. I should begin by saying that contemporary romance is about the furthest thing from my typical medieval reading, so this book was a step outside the box for me.

McGee packs several different elements into this 264 page book. There are supernatural encounters, Christian conversions, murder, deceit, and (of course) romance. The story is told through short chapters from various points-of-view. Sarah, the main character, is a struggling college student who decides to take a break from life to visit a ranch in Montana and explore her feelings for her boyfriend, who hopes the trip leads to something more serious. Other portions of the story are told through the characters of Jim, a cowboy at the ranch, and Jonathan, a rich middle-aged egotist who doesn’t seem to fit into the story until about two-thirds of the way through. Several other minor characters have their point-of-view spotlighted for a few chapters giving the novel a choppy, unnecessarily complex feel. Though the overall story had potential, I thought that it took too long to bring all the meandering plots together into a cohesive story.

I enjoyed many of McGee’s descriptive phrases when she was setting a scene, but her dialogue and character feelings fell a little flat for me. More than once as I was reading, a character would have a reaction to something that didn’t seem to fit or flow correctly to me. I also had a little too much of the feeling that I was supposed to believe that a person was Christian because the author told me so, not because it was evident in their actions. Our main Christian lady spends the entire book going on trips with men that she doesn’t know very well, though she does not sleep with them. We are told to believe that she does so because she feels God leading her to do so. Since the romantic couple of the story start having deep feelings for each other after knowing each other only a few days, I couldn’t help thinking that it was lust at first sight rather than evidence of God’s plan, but maybe I’m being too cynical. The message of mercy and forgiveness was simply and meaningfully expressed resulting in two beautiful scenes of Christian conversion.

Several scenes of supernatural visions (an excerpt of one appears below) in this book left me feeling confused and skeptical. The poetic language used to set up these scenes is lovely, but I didn’t feel that they fit well into the story. Some authors can pull off this direct message from God approach (Robert Whitlow is a great example), but it is tricky and was a little too heavy handed in this novel. The scenes of this nature that included Elizabeth seemed completely superfluous.

In whole, this was a quick, easy read with romance, struggles of faith, and suspense. Nice debut by Stephenia McGee.

Full review including author profile and book excerpt at http://letchristlead.com/a-legacy-of-lies-by-stephania-mcgee/.