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Numerous mainstream novels that have been written from the perspective of a dead person line bookstore shelves, but not many from the Christian market. Author Erin Healy is well-known for her supernaturally based novels, and it comes as no surprise that she has taken on the challenge of pushing the limits of typical “Christian thinking.” As always, she does so while providing a wonderful and entertaining experience.

After a brief prologue, MOTHERLESS opens with Garrett Becker seeing his dead wife while driving through the rain. He chases after her with his car and ends up driving off the road. From that point on, readers are immersed in the life of Garrett’s family and the past 20 years of secrets, infidelity, lies and sins.

Sixteen years ago, Misty Becker walked away from her husband Garrett, their three-year-old daughter and infant son, and drowned herself in the treacherous waters of Monastery Beach. Her body was never recovered, but her post-partum depression and fragile state at the time was enough to warrant her death as a suicide. Garrett was left to raise the now-motherless Marina and Dylan on his own. Marina seems to be relatively well-adjusted and responsible, while Dylan has a form of agoraphobia that sends him into panic attacks at even the thought of venturing from home.

"MOTHERLESS delivers the excellence readers have come to expect from an Erin Healy novel. If you are a fan of hers or of supernatural-centered novels, this one will not disappoint."

Dylan resists Marina’s gentle attempts to get him out of the house and away from his “safe place.” That is, until Dylan has a reason to believe that his mother may actually be alive.

Sara Rochester is the owner of Sara’s Sins, a candy store where she sells her delectable chocolates. She is surprised when Dylan shows up asking if she is his mom. At first she denies it, but later professes that, yes, she is the mother Dylan and his sister believe died years before. Dylan is ecstatic, but Marina not so much. She is suspicious of Sara’s claim and is determined to prove that the woman is lying. In Marina’s quest for the answers, she discovers much more than she bargained for. Is Sara their mother who has been hiding in plain sight, mere miles from them, for years? Or is she lying? And, if so, why?

MOTHERLESS is an intense novel that grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go. The first couple of chapters may feel a bit discombobulated as you try to sort through exactly what is happening, but it doesn’t take long to become so engrossed in the lives of the characters and the mystery evolving, that the pages can’t turn fast enough. While there is not a lot of fast-paced action, there is more than enough suspense and intrigue to go around. The mystery surrounding Misty’s disappearance is creative and unique, made even more so because of the narrative viewpoint.

Main plot aside, there are many underlying currents throughout to provide opportunity for reflection. Perhaps the most prominent is how our personal actions and choices affect ourselves and others, particularly our families. Matters of mental health, pain, tragedy and even self-preservation methods are explored. And then there is the whole supernatural aspect, which may not line up with your beliefs but certainly offers an interesting perspective. MOTHERLESS could have just as easily been released by a secular publisher, as there isn’t much of a “religious” factor until the end of the book, although the Christian message of grace shines brilliantly. The message is summed up well by this quote near the end of the book: “Grace is what happens when we realize that God is more powerful than everything we ever got wrong. He is bigger than any lie we ever told, any delusion we ever believed.”

MOTHERLESS delivers the excellence readers have come to expect from an Erin Healy novel. If you are a fan of hers or of supernatural-centered novels, this one will not disappoint.

Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on January 21, 2015

by Erin Healy

  • Publication Date: October 28, 2014
  • Genres: Christian, Christian Fiction, Fiction
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • ISBN-10: 1401689590
  • ISBN-13: 9781401689599