Date Published: September 30, 2013
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Author: Carole Brown
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary
Book Source: I received this book for free from Author Carole Brown for my honest opinion.
Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year-old daughter at the hands of a radical religious cult – The Children of Righteous Cain. So when her husband, a founding member of the cult, suffers a massive heart attack, Caralynne allows her husband to die. Caralynne’s secret seems safe until Dayne MacFarland returns from college. Determined to learn the truth about the clan, Dayne’s investigation and his rekindled love for Caralynne, lead the pair toward a confrontation with clan leaders. Can Dayne’s love for Caralynne bridge the gulf of anger and bitterness that divide the community? Or will Caralynne’s deadly secret prove too high a price for her redemption?
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Carole Brown’s debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, was a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest. Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, she enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband have ministered and counseled across the country. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
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“What would you have done if you’d had the chance to choose something else?”
“Are you serious? I’ve never taken the time to think about could-be’s and would-be’s. As I said, there’s not much since in wishing for what will never happen.”
“But if you could have…?”
“I don’t know. I’d mountain climb. Probably fly. Own my own private plane. Do rescue work.”
“What else?” His interest spurred her on. How long had it been since she’d had someone to share nonsense with?
“I’d learn to parachute and hang glide for fun and anything else to get me off the ground and into the air.”
“You crazy girl. mind if I join you?”
Richard had called her crazy too. Cara rested her head against the back of the seat. His hand stirred beside her.
“I am crazy, aren’t I?”
He slipped his arm around her and tugged lightly until she gave in and rested her head on his shoulder.
“You know it’s not too late to experience your dreams.”
“What do you mean?” Elder Simmons would never allow me to do that.”
A pause. Dayne stroked her hand with one finger. “Do it anyway.”
“I had a hard enough time accepting Donald’s beating. I couldn’t take them from the elders.Don’t encourage me, Dayne. Please. You don’t know—” With a sob, she straightened, and flung open the door.
Dayne ran from his side of the car and grabbed her shoulders. “Cara. Cara, don’t cry. I’m doing my best to work on the elders. Trust me.” He cupped her chin, tilted it, and stared into her eyes.
She gave a nod. “I do.”
With a thumb he wiped away the tears from her cheeks. I wish—”
“What do you wish?” Cara held her breath.
Caralynne Hayman was raised in the religious group The Children of Righteous Cane. After her parents passed away she was taken in by Dayne MacFarland’s parents and raised as their own child. Living among these people is simply a way of life but Caralynne started to question their rules and beliefs a long time ago. She was forced to marry a man she didn’t love at the age of fifteen, her oldest daughter, Lori, was killed at the hands of her brother-in-law during her “breaking in” at the age of 11, not to mention the abuse the women receive at the hand’s of their husbands. After the death of her husband, Donald, Caralynne knows she will never marry another man they choose for her. Her plan? Execute revenge on the men in the group that she deems worthy and figure out a way to escape with her two daughters. When she becomes the target of Elder Simmons’ anger and he continues to lower the age of the “Breaking in” period for the young girls in the group, Caralynne knows she has to save her youngest daughters from the same fate as her beloved Lori. Will she have time to execute her plan for revenge or must she flee for her life and forget her plan and all of the hatred she feels for these men?
Dayne MacFarland has always loved Caralynne and regrets not being there for her when she needed him. He was sent away to seminary school for training so he could return to The Children of Righteous Cane and be their minister. But Dayne learns the way of his people are misguided, something he has always felt in his heart. When Dayne returns to the group he has an agenda. He intends to change the way they rule their people using Scripture to refute their past rules and decisions. He doesn’t count on falling even deeper in love with Caralynne. Dayne knows he has to protect her. With Elder Simmons out to hurt her, or even worse, Dayne takes up the fight and makes getting Caralynne and her daughters to safety his top priority. Can he help bring order to these people in the process? Can he win the heart of the only woman he has ever loved?
When I was asked by Miss Carole to review this book I agreed but I was a little skeptical. I wasn’t sure if I would like the overall story or not BUT I am so glad I agreed because The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a book I couldn’t put down. From the first page I was drawn in and from there I just wanted to see what would happen next. Caralynne was a real fighter. She loved her daughters with the fierceness of a mother cub and you could feel her grief over her daughter Lori’s death. The way she wanted to protect her friends from the abuse of their husbands had me cheering for her loyalty. No matter what she went through she didn’t let it break her. She came back fighting with a new determination. I loved Caralynne’s spunk and strength.
Enters Dayne MacFarland… Minister, loyal friend. He has a burning desire to “fix” their religious group and I had not doubt he would. He had the same determination as Caralynne but it was toned down a little and the way he protected her children as if they were his own just melted my heart. I could feel his deep love for Caralynne and I was rooting him on the whole way. His loyalty to their people, despite the head Elder’s disgusting rules, was something to be admired.
This was a story that was both beautiful and way too true. It opened my eyes to a practice that really goes on in this world. A practice that the world sometimes turns a blind eye to. It was so realistic and fast-paced that you won’t be able to put it down. The characters are spot on and you can’t help but feel the emotions they go through. It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel because it’s so well written. I’m so glad I read this book and I’ll be looking for more from Carole Brown in the future. Highly recommended!
**While I was given a free copy of this book for my honest opinion, I was in no way compensated for this review**
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