Sanctuary by Laurie Larsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sanctuary is the first book in the Murrells Inlet series by author Laurie Larsen. Tagged as contemporary Christian romance, this would be a book I would only pick up when I'm in just the right mood. To be honest, it was reading about the author that made me more interested in reading this. An IT professional by day and romance novelist by night, Mrs. Larsen is proving a woman can wear two different suits and excel in both. It's fascinating to me and gives me an automatic respect for her.
Now onto the story; It's a sweet book. Not sticky sweet but very nearly. The pace is brisk and easy and the reader is saved from long winded descriptions of scenery and house layouts, which I appreciate greatly. I really loved the horse angle, I think it added a dimension to the story that helped shine a light on the human characters. Larsen's talent for writing an engaging story is unquestioned by this reader.
There is a but here... I thought the big 'betrayal' was very much not a betrayal and I was irritated at Nora for painting herself such a martyr over it. I'm sorry but Shaw was a martyr, Sadie was a martyr, even Melanie was more a martyr in the story than Nora. I think I have come to the same type of conclusion about the female characters in Christian romances before and I believe it's why I shy away from the genre. Life isn't black and white, people aren't all good or all bad, and love is rarely painless. It seems like when God and faith is a focus of a story, the characters are far less forgiving from their perch on their high horse. It is something I've witnessed in real life with great disgust and I am aware that my preconceived notions affect the way I relate to characters in those type of books. None of this is the author's fault, it's just the way I feel.
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