"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

16 October 2016

2016 Book Review #61: The Book of James

Another book that caught my eye because of the title!

James happens to be one New Testament book that convicts me every time I read it.  Plus there is such good stuff in there about how we are to live as Believers.  So of course my eyes were drawn to this fiction book on the town library new book shelf.


Nick and Mackenzie, married for 4 years and in their early 30's, are on their way to a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway, from their home in Portland, Maine, when they are in an accident that leaves Nick seriously wounded.  He dies in the hospital after whispering these words to his beloved wife:  "As soon as they know I'm dead, they'll come after you."  Found among his things, is a slip of paper with the phrase "James 5 6".  Mackenzie keeps the paper because right before Nick slipped away he also whispered "find James".

Mackenzie is very confused...who is James???  She travels to Philadelphia where Nick is from, to hear the reading of his will, his words still echoing in her ears.

It is there, in the lawyer's office, where she learns that she does indeed have a mother-in-law, even though Nick had told her his parents were both dead. She also learns that she will now inherit millions of money.  Not thousands.  Millions. How??  What is the truth about Nick and his mother?

 The truth is, his father Bradford died when Nick was just a teenager, and although he said his mother died of cancer, she is very much still alive.  And dangerous. And Mackenzie finds out that Nick ran away from home at age 16 and never went back.  In fact, he never wanted anything to do with Cora again.  He gave up millions of dollars.  WHY??  Just who IS Cora Monroe Whitfield??

She is a recluse in a very old 19th century mansion that she has never really left.  In fact, she grew up in that mansion.  Her only friends are Ginny, a confused older woman, and Harrison, Ginny's brother who is a doctor.  What binds these 3 together?? 

Mackenzie is trying to figure out why her husband lied to her about his background and soon discovers that there is a lot more to the story than just what even the lawyer has explained to her.

Nick's mother, Cora, invites Mackenzie to stay for a week. Mackenzie soon finds out that Cora has a dangerous agenda.  She is clinging to some very deep memories and will do anything to keep the family secrets.  And there are many.

Meanwhile, Mackenzie tries to uncover a horrible truth that has long been denied.  And in doing so, she puts her life, her best friend Samantha's life and possibly her new friend Dylan's life in danger.

What does James 5 6 mean??  Is there a real James or is this just a Biblical reference??  and for what??


This is one of those "hold onto your seat" kind of stories.  It's the kind that left me staying up past midnight for the last 3 nights which means I read this book in just 3 days.  It is fast-paced, mysterious, a psychological thriller and in some ways reminded me of The Thirteenth Tale or a Margaret Atwood book minus the dystopian theme.  It is the author's debut novel.  I'll be looking for books from her in the future!

The character development and setting are just superb.  The author does a brilliant job of describing Cora....a lonely, bitter, angry, insane kind of person.  Read the story to find out why she ends up mentally deranged.

I loved the characters Dylan, Mackenzie, Ginny and Samantha.  It makes me wish there was a sequel although I know that would be odd for this type of story.  But those characters were just so lovable.

This book touches on domestic violence before women had rights or any kind of power to break away from the cycle of abuse.  It is also about bad parenting, isolation, grief, loss, murder, and bitterness.

Nick's childhood was utterly sad and twisted.....yet he was raised as a millionaire and walked away from the inheritance.  WHY???

The description of James is....well....dark.  Sad.  and I don't want to go into detail because I don't want to ruin the plot for you.

This book ends well and Mackenzie finally has peace and a sense of freedom.  But in getting there, it is a wild ride that she truly never expected to endure.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older (due to some content on a mature theme)

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.


Susanne said...

This sounds good. Have to see if the library has it.

aspiritofsimplicity said...

this sounds like an interesting read even though I don't normally like mysteries.