Title: Strands of Truth
Author: Colleen Coble
Genre: Christian Fiction, Mystery & Suspense
Synopsis: Harper Taylor is used to being alone—after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.
So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?
Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.
I've been more interested, lately, in reading Christian Fiction. But guys, even though I am not afraid to say I love Jesus, I have a hard time finding books that don't read super preachy. The entire reason we need Jesus is because we are sinners, so it reasons that the characters should be flawed and not perfect prayer warriors - but I digress.
Reading Strands of Truth was a pleasant surprise. Though I wouldn't classify it as Christian Fiction, the characters do pray and talk about God. (Maybe that's the requirement that publishers are looking for?) Coble doesn't make God a character in this novel. He doesn't answer with words or miraculous events. To me, this is a Fiction novel with Christian characters.
Even though Harper and Ridge prayed, they also failed a lot. They judged each other, jumped to conclusions, made bad decisions, and fumbled their way through a giant mystery that I couldn't for the life of me figure out before they did. The book is messy and weird. I like how unpredictable it is. Set in Florida, Coble does a wonderful job describing the landscape of Central Florida. She introduces mermaids, torrential downpours, and humidity that hangs like a wet blanket. I felt home in those pages.
I do think that Coble needed to juggle a lot of characters. Some points of view felt added on, used to explain a situation rather than being a necessity to the story. And the prose itself was sometimes confusing. I didn't understand Ridge's motives most of the time. There wasn't a clear line from hating Harper to loving her. He flipped back and forth most of the time, but his character development didn't show why. I think Coble was going for more of a slow burning romance, but he gave into her too quickly for that to be achieved.
Though the relationships were lacking, the mystery was amazing. Coble gave just enough details each chapter to make me want more without giving away too much or making me lose interest. The attempt on Oliver's life is just the first of many attempted crimes in the book. These crimes affect Harper as well as Annabelle, and answer questions that I didn't need to know I was asking by the end of the novel.
All in all, Strands of Truth is a fun summer mystery novel. Bring the paperback to the beach before the weather gets too cold. Strands of Truth will be available at your favorite retailer on September 10, 2019.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.