Monday, February 28, 2011

C. J. Darlington's Bound by Guilt ~ Reviewed

Bound by Guilt
By C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale
ISBN# 978-1-4143-4012-8
402 Pages

Back Cover:

Roxi Gold has been shuttled from one foster home to another for most of her life. She longs for a family and will do anything to fit in, even if it's against the law. Soon she’s traveling the country in an RV, stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. She knows it’s wrong, but if she refuses, she’ll be put out on the streets.

Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society, and not just at work. Her ex-husband wrested their daughter away from her in a bitter custody battle. The job she once loved has become a chore, the world isn’t any safer, and there’s no joy in her life.

One fateful night, a man’s innocent blood changes both Roxi’s and Abby’s lives forever. One searches for justice; the other finds herself on the run until a first edition of The Great Gatsby catches up with her. Will the power of forgiveness set them free, or will they both remain bound by guilt?


I was intrigued by the beautifully bound book and the troubled teen on the front cover. I was thrilled to receive a review copy of such an intriguing, tension filled, heartfelt book. This novel kept me spellbound on many levels, as C.J. took me through the homey Book Barn - a place I’d love to go and explore its treasures myself. The author’s passion for books and her book experience shines through in this haunting, suspenseful tale of a teen caught in a hopeless web she struggles to get out of. Contrast to a female cop named Abby, a character who feels trapped in a different kind of situation! She too is looking for a way out!

Roxie longed for a family of her own and a place to call home. She was abandoned by her mom and shuffled though the foster care system at a young age, ending up with a distant relative. Roxi felt trapped in the family business she wanted no part of. But where would she go? If she didn’t comply, they’d give her back to foster care and she couldn’t have that.

Abby Dawson is a cop with an attitude. She joined the force to help people and clean up the streets. Abby felt she did very little good when the bad guys didn’t stay in jail long, and were back out on the streets. Life didn’t quite seem fair in the legal system or in her personal life either. Where was she headed? Her life had no meaning?

Then Roxi and Abby’s life change in an instant! Abby receives a phone call from her dad that rocks her world, and sets Abby on a new path in life. Roxi has started down a new path as she never thought she’d be on – ever. Will this event be the end to both of them? Or will they both seek the truth and be set free, in more ways than one.

The author says, “If you take away one thing from Bound by Guilt, may it be the challenge to look past outward appearances and reach out to a hurting teen in your life. Teenagers, even those with tattoos and nose rings, need people like you and me to love them for who they are. I hope we can be Jesus’ hands and feet and love this generation unconditionally,”

While reading this story I could sense the authors’ soft spot for teens and the
people society throws away. This is a book that will touch your heart, mind and emotions. It will also get you thinking about how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus in your corner of the world. C.J.’s a deep thinker and full of love that radiates on every page she writes. She shows how God uses flawed characters’ to do amazing things in their lives if we let Him!

C. J. Darlington has been in the antiquarian book selling business for over a decade. Her passion for books and the experience she’s had in book selling bleeds through in every chapter. It was enthralling. In the author notes, C.J. mentions she used a real life story as the back drop to this book. It made the story all the more interesting for me. I enjoyed how C.J. took the reader behind the scenes of the mysterious world of antique books, buyers, sellers and thieves. The world that C.J. creates is sincere, interesting, suspenseful and clever!

I can’t wait to have my book club read and discuss this book. You’ll definitely want to read this book, I’m sure you’ll be talking about it to friends and co-workers. I’m looking forward to the next book C.J. writes, you will too!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent

The Book Club Network

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