Sheila Franklin had been married 20 years the day the phone call came. Two decades of embracing a new identity, a new life, struggling daily to leave the old one behind. It only took one question to rip open the floodgates to her past, allowing torrents of memories and heartache to unearth THE RHYTHM OF SECRETS.
"Is this Sylvia Allen?"
She tried to breathe; nearly choked. Her elbows banged against solid oak. Nobody knew she'd once been Sylvia Allen, except... What was this? Blackmail?
The call rocks Sheila's world --- a world that had knocked her to the depths, and to her knees, many times before. But this was different. This time, the person rocking it was her son. When the nuns had taken away her baby boy 22 years ago, they had shredded her 17-year-old heart. Sheila didn't know what the consequences of the phone call would be, but the winds of change were blowing like a New Orleans hurricane, and for her long-lost son, she would face it head on.
Married to a prominent pastor, Sheila is entrenched in the routine of a pastor's wife. She has played the role with a painted-on smile, truly loving God and her husband, but never divulging the details of her past. He doesn't know about her New Orleans roots, her mother's history at the brothel, or the reason behind the fire that killed her parents. And he certainly doesn't know about the young soldier who stole her heart and her virginity, making her a teenage mother. She never told him about living with the nuns until Samuel was born, or the endless heartache of having to give him up. Now Samuel is back in her life, and she'll do whatever it takes to keep him there --- even if "whatever it takes" destroys her marriage.
Samuel met his mother with no expectations of loving her. He had one goal and was committed to achieving it at any cost. Even blackmail. While stationed in Thailand, he had fallen in love with a young woman who had been forced into prostitution years before at the tender age of 14. His futile attempt to buy her freedom left him more determined than ever. He lacked the clout and financial resources to achieve his goal, but knew his mother's husband had both. If he had to make life a little ugly for the mother who had abandoned him, so be it. But one conversation with her turned that mindset inside out. Clearly, she loved him. And though he never anticipated it, he found himself loving her too.
When Sheila learns of Samuel's dilemma, she resolves to help free the girl he loves. First, she must come clean with her husband. She hopes and prays he will forgive her deceit, love her son, and help them rescue his girlfriend. To her dismay, none of those actions occur. Heartbroken, Sheila leaves her husband. On a wing and a prayer, Sheila and Samuel head for Bangkok, where money reigns in a world of sex, drugs and violence. Their rescue plan quickly falls apart, leaving Samuel beaten and incoherent, and Sheila kidnapped by the prostitution king pin. With her is Mali, Samuel's girlfriend. All appears hopeless, but Sheila stays strong in her faith, knowing that all three of them may die. God does not abandon Sheila. Instead, he sends angels --- angels she never would have expected.
Author Patti Lacy grabs readers from the start and doesn't let go. THE RHYTHM OF SECRETS artfully blends literary writing with intrigue, action, beautiful settings, and imagery you can touch, taste and smell. From New Orleans to Chicago to Bangkok, this novel offers up an engaging plot and three-dimensional characters whom readers will care about deeply. You'll be cheering the heroes, hating the villains, holding your breath, and hoping for a miracle before the last page is turned. Don't let this one slip past you.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on December 22, 2010