Shadows on the Sand

Each day for the last little while, I looked forward to the time I’d set aside to read Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper. Today I read nine chapters instead of the five I’d planned on. As with most books, the action speeds up toward the end. It became more and more difficult to close the file. And now I’m done.

Action. Suspense. Drama. Romance. It may sound cliche, but Shadows… really does have it all. Several chapters end with dramatic cliffhangers that compelled me to read “just one more chapter.”

I very much enjoyed how the author reveals the characters’ backstories. It isn’t easy, but Ms. Roper does so in a natural way. Plus, she doesn’t reveal information unnecessary to the story. Kudos!

And speaking of natural…The characters are real, three-dimensional people. Their struggles, joys, victories, and defeats go beyond believable. They make them people readers can relate to.

The situations could happen in real life, and in fact, they do – some pleasant, others definitely not. Compelling me to read about realistic situations I would prefer not to think about is one mark of good writing. I don’t want to read about this. It’s too scary, too possible. But I can’t not read further. I knew that would be the case when the topic of a cult and it’s clever, manipulative leader was introduced.

There are a few problem areas that stood out to me. Some of the vocabulary in the first few chapters seems out of place. I’m all for looking up words I don’t know, but not those in a novel I’d take to the beach to read on a lazy summer day. While the author uses only one point of view in each chapter, the bouncing around was a little distracting, as was the fact that only when she is in the female protagonist’s head does Ms. Roper use first person. Finally, some of the similes seem unnatural. I doubt they would go through the POV character’s mind.

While, in many ways, the book ends as I would expect, not everything is wrapped up nice and neat with a bow on top. Life doesn’t happen that way, and neither does this novel.

I would definitely recommend this book to friends and would give it three-and-a-half stars out of five.

I received a free copy of Shadows on the Sand from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review. I love free books – even electronic ones.

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