First things first, I am a huge fan of Barbara Goss’ work. I’ve been hooked ever since reading Temptation By Moonlight. After reading that first book, I ended up buying the rest of her novels and binge reading them, one a night. I credit authors Deeanne Gist and Barbara Goss for getting me into the Historical Romance genre, thanks to their wonderful books. Goss is an excellent writer, one who knows how to draw the reader in and keep them interested up to the very end. When you read one of her novels, you feel as though you’ve stepped into the story and are living alongside the characters, experiencing everything they’re experiencing. You fall in love with the characters quickly, they’re relatable and real. The stories are always superbly written with witty and interesting dialogue, and an intriguing plot. One of the many things I love about Goss’ work is that each novel holds a strong Christian theme and message. You not only get an enjoyable, wonderful story, you also learn a valuable lesson from each book.
Shadow of Shame finds Jonas Armstrong punishing himself for his sordid past and resigning himself to living like a recluse. But Jonas’ lifestyle gets a big shake up when Ivey Jeffries moves to town. Ivey Jeffries moves to Abilene, Kansas with her family, after her minister father feels called to take the position as minister for Grace Church. Ivey quickly falls hopelessly in love with Jonas after meeting him on a hay ride. There’s a great deal working against this couple’s fate, including the fact that Ivey’s father is the minister of the same church that kicked Jonas out years before. Jonas decides that it is best to turn Ivey against him in order to protect her pristine reputation, even though he wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his life with her. Ultimately, Jonas is forced to confront his feelings and how he has dealt with his past. Shadow of Shame has everything: love, blackmail, twists and turns, the works.
Shadow of Shame is such a beautiful story about forgiveness and redemption, and carries an important message of God’s grace. A lot of us, like Jonas, have a hard time forgiving ourselves for past actions. Our mistakes may not necessarily be on the same level as Jonas’, but we can still understand holding our mistakes against ourselves and dolling out our own punishment. Shadow of Shame does a beautiful job of showing how that is wrong. God has forgiven us. His grace means that we are washed clean. We don’t need to punish ourselves, in fact, if God forgives us, the least we can do is forgive ourselves! I truly appreciate and love the strong Christian theme and messages in Goss’ books.
Now, I feel the need to address one thing that has recently come to my attention. I was reading reviews of Goss’ other books and came across a few that found the reader complaining, saying that the romantic content in the book was too sexual and crossed the line for a book labeled as Christian romance. This simply is NOT true. I have read every single book Goss has written and never, have I ever come across content that was too sexual or crossed the line. The romance in Shadow of Shame, and all of Goss’ other books, is clean. I appreciate Goss’ writing style especially when it comes the romantic parts. She deals with the feelings and desires of the characters in an honest and real way, all the while keeping it completely clean. Just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean we don’t feel the same feelings and have the same desires as the rest of the human race, it just means we have to navigate them in an honorable way, which these characters do.
So, will Jonas and Ivey find a way to make a relationship work? Will Jonas learn to forgive himself, truly, and let go of his past? Or will he lose the love of his life and his chance at happiness? Read the book and find out! ;) Believe me, this is not a book you want to miss out on!
*** Keep up with Barbara by visiting her website: www.barbaragossbooks.com ***
Liz Austin. Born and raised in Upstate NY. Bibliophile. Writer. I would rather be reading....