Monday, November 02, 2009

Shudder - Jennie Hansen

We're taught in Young Women's to date returned missionaries. We feel good about going out with a young man when we know he holds the priesthood. After all, those are the two hallmarks of the perfect guy, right? Check those two items off the list and then you can get down to ice cream flavors and favorite movies. The important stuff is done.

That's what we all think ... but what if everything you thought turned out to be a lie?

Clare thought she'd found the perfect guy in Blaine. He was everything she'd been looking for - returned missionary, priesthood holder, the works. What she didn't know was that his temper ruled his life, and he was soon controlling her, leaving bruises when she didn't comply with his often unrealistic demands. Clare was just looking for love to fill up the holes in her heart, and she didn't realize a spider's web was weaving around her.

Darcy, Clare's roommate, is appalled when Clare announces that she wants Blaine to take over the empty third bedroom in their apartment. Darcy puts her foot down, but soon Blaine insinuates himself into their living space, and she leaves. She knows Clare is in over her head, but she can't make the girl see reason.

Darcy finds a place to live with a sweet older woman who is recovering from a car accident. It was no accident, the woman claims, although her ramblings are chalked up to trauma. It's not long, though, before Darcy suspects that her new friend is telling the absolute truth. Throw in a handsome home teacher, and things get even more interesting.

Meanwhile, Clare's situation is getting worse and worse, and Darcy can only watch from a distance, waiting for her friend to come to her senses and call.

I enjoyed Jennie Hansen's new novel, "Shudder." I appreciated the way it approached abuse on the dating scene and pointed out that even "nice guys" can become violent - I hope young women read this novel and see that there's more to choosing their dates than the RM card. I did sense some discrepancies in Darcy's characterization - she's very firmly adamant about not letting Blaine move in, because she's concerned about the appearance of evil, but then she drives 450 miles (and then makes a return trip) alone in a car with the handsome home teacher without giving that whole "appearance" thing a second thought. Putting that to the side, I found this book to be an exciting, gripping read. I've always enjoyed Jennie's novels and will add this one to my Jennie shelf.

(This book was published in 2009 by Covenant Communications, and I received a free copy for review.)


Jen said...

I think this message is SO important--that just because a guy is an RM doesn't mean he has a free pass to the celestial kingdom! I know so many people who married the first RM to pay them attention and ended up a single parent a few years later when the rubber meets the road. Finding the right person is more than just "RM" or "eagle scout" on the resume!

End rant. I'll have to check out that book!

Framed said...

Like you, I have always really liked Jennie Hansen novels. I'll look out for this one.

L.T. Elliot said...

Interesting concept and one that I think is very important in today's world. Great review, Tristi.

Keeley said...

Oooh, this one sounds interesting - but hits close. I had a friend who married the perfect RM Elder's Quorum President. I don't know how she survived some of the things he did to her.

Makes me worry for my children. I've told her over and over "Stay close to the Lord so you'll know if it's right or not. Even if the guy *LOOKS* perfect, follow what the Lord tells you."

Hope she listened.

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