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Ransomed Dreams by Amy Wallace

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The Advocate

Ransomed Dreams
by Amy Wallace

Reviewed by Carol Kurtz

"Wallace weaves the notion of forgiveness into a warm and passionate romance."

Gracie is haunted by that horrible new Year’s Eve two years ago, when the husband she adored and her two little children were killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver. Since then she has limped along emotionally, but the only way she can truly go on with her life is if she can find the man who did this. The trail has gone cold, but she can’t give up searching just yet. What she doesn’t know is that she’s being watched by him, and that she’s stirring up a hornet’s nest.

Steven Kessler is a disillusioned single dad who absorbs himself in his job as head of the Crimes Against Children Department of the FBI. Gracie and Steven’s paths collide when he brings his little boy to her first grade class at the private and prestigious Hope Ridge Academy just outside of DC. But these two lonely hearts have baggage that gets in the way of the instant chemistry they feel for each other. Steve is guilt ridden about the children he hasn’t been able to save. All the senseless violence he’s seen against the innocents of the world has started to turn him from God. That and his bitterness towards his ex-wife.

There is a kidnapping involving the British ambassador’s daughter which ends badly. Steven is determined to find the perp, and he becomes intertwined in the political rivalry between the British and the American secret service. And then Gracie’s stalker colludes with the kidnapper, and suddenly both she and Steve are in danger.

Interestingly, Wallace suggests to us early on who the killer of Gracie’s family is by using his name, and yet he’s still an enigma. He is right under Gracie’s nose as she searches far and wide. You don’t usually expect to know who the killer is so early in a mystery, and yet there is still plenty for us to figure out, since he’s not the only villain. The mystery here is how will she find out, and will she find out before he kills her?

The physical charge she and Steven feel for each other is palpable from the first time they meet. But there are so many obstacles in their way, so many misunderstandings between them. Both are struggling with their faith and how the tragedies in their lives could have happened. Thankfully, Wallace doesn’t give us the pat answer that God allowed Gracie’s family to die or Steven’s wife to leave him---rather, she bravely leaves it at there are things we just don’t get to have answers for. It takes a long, painful journey for each of them to learn the spiritual lesson of the book: “Peace comes from knowing God, not from having answers to every question. The answer is faith. Trusting Him.”

Ransomed has a more realistic ending than a full blown riding-off-into-the-sunset one, yet it’s full of the toe-curling smiles and face flushing glances romance lovers expect. Amy Wallace weaves the notion of forgiveness into a warm and passionate romance. Couple that with a suspenseful mystery and you’ve got a winner.

Carol Kurtz Darlington is a certified personal trainer and a certified group fitness instructor who works with people who want to lose weight as well as those who just want to enjoy better health. She enjoys empowering and encouraging others to reach their health and fitness goals, feel better about themselves in the process, and enjoy more energy to stay active in all areas of their lives. She is the founder of Totally Fit With Carol, a Christian weight loss website featuring workout videos, health tips, exercise advice, and more. She loves her morning cappuccino and her beloved grand-dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and haunting Starbucks.