ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Single mother and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time to write from her busy schedule because she must tell the stories that haunt her every waking moment. (Such is the overly dramatic description of an author's life!) She holds a BA in Literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem, as well. All that confusion must have influenced her decision to be team captain of a winning team on Family Feud.
Her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, released from Moody in September and deals with lies, secrets, and themes of forgiveness in a troubled marriage. A moving speaker and dynamic teacher, Christina strives to Live Transparently--Forgive Extravagantly!
Her work has also appeared in The Secret Place, The Oregonian, and Daily Devotions for Writers.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Craig Littleton's decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise . . . if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.
They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, they discover dark secrets. An affair? An emptied bank account? A hidden identity? An illegitimate child?
But what will she do when she realizes he's not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Familiar Stranger, go HERE
The characters and the drama of a marriage-on-the brink pulled me into this story immediately. Good writing and a twisting, intriguing plot line kept me turning pages. Though not perfect this is a terrific debut novel. Some pacing issues and some slight characterization quirks caused me to pause a bit. I also didn't find the details of some aspects of the story to be completely believable, there are some "but" moments.
Denise and Craig are in a cold war. Their marriage has degenerated to the point that polite, simple sentences are the only safe communication. The reasons that this relationship is so strained becomes apparent as the story unfolds.
The story begins as Craig is preparing to do something permanent to take care of this situation. But there is an accident. Then Craig wakes up with amnesia. Yes. I know, very soap opera...but by this point I was invested in the story and the writing. Denise and Craig discover that the puzzle pieces don't fall into place at all. As a matter of fact there seems to be a never ending pile of puzzle pieces. The story twists and turns from there.
There is a pretty strong faith element within the book.
By the time the novel resolved I was satisfied. I will be eager to read the next book Berry cooks up.