Review by Ian Acheson
|Photo courtesy of SallyBradley.com
I don’t read a lot of romantic fiction but I was drawn to “Kept” by the comments of some reviewers whom I respect dearly. What grabbed my attention was the notion that this novel wasn’t your typical Christian romance as it grappled with some tough issues.
It didn’t take long to get absorbed in the story. It’s powerful storytelling with wonderfully believable characters (well maybe the good looks are a little exaggerated but my wife tells me that’s essential to most romance novels). I expect Miska, the drop-dead gorgeous freelance editor who has an arrangement with a married pro baseballer (whom she loves) whenever he comes to town, may create some tension amongst readers.
Next door are two brothers: Garrett, the cool soon-to-be-married lawyer and Dillan, the clumsy giant who happens to be a youth pastor. Christian men who befriend Miska and soon become aware of her arrangement.
Miska and Dillan are drawn to each other which is a surprise to them both and causes much inner turmoil which Bradley handles well.
There’s a wonderful supporting cast of characters any of whom you can meet on the street. My favourite was Tracy who demonstrated how to love someone without any judgment or preconceived notions of who or what they should be. Even when grappling with her own heartbreak she takes Miska on and simply loves her.
But what stirred me most about this story is how Bradley demonstrates the power of Christ’s pursuit of individuals and how His love transforms. Miska reflects all of us; her life is complicated and messy. Sure her particular situation may be extreme compared to the “stuff” we grapple with but it all reflects our fallen natures.
It's a gutsy love story which had me frequently updating my wife which is quite unusual. I found myself wondering why there apparently weren't more such novels in the CBA universe. We need more Sally Bradley’s to write such novels that portray the rawness of life and the transformative power of Christ’s love.
I'd love any recommendations on other novels that perhaps challenge the norm.
"I really enjoyed reading this book.. After reading it, it makes me want to go get my Bible and read it more!"
Any novel that has that effect on a reader is a pretty good one, I reckon.