Book Review: Stranded by Dani Pettrey Rating: 4.5/5

As much as I love going to the library in my hometown, it usually lacks the Christian fiction that I love to read. But when I was browsing the “New Books” section, I came across a book cover that looked like a Christian book. I don’t know what to say except that I can recognize certain book covers as a Christian book. It’s a gift. I know, right? Having never heard of the author, I read the back of the book for a teaser. I saw a review by Dee Henderson, who is one of my favorite authors, and decided to give it a try. I was a little hesitant to read the book since it was the third book in the Alaskan Courage series, but my risk paid off with an exciting story that I can’t wait to read more of.

A former undercover investigative reporter, Darcy St. James, is pulled back into the secretive and complicated life she left behind when her old college roommate and colleague, Abby, asks for her help in her latest investigation involving an Alaskan cruise liner and its excursions. However, after Darcy arrives posing as an adventure journalist, she discovers her good friend missing. Is it a coincidence that someone had fallen overboard the same night that Abby went missing? Darcy is determined to find her friend by befriending any of the crew who will help her out. Can she find out what had Abby so frightened? Who can she trust?

Meet Gage McKenna. He volunteered to be the on deck activities coordinator representing his family’s outdoor adventure company. He leads the excursions and has the clients’ lives in in his capable hands. Having met Darcy (in the previous book #2), Gage and Darcy have an interesting history and sizzling chemistry, but after 5 months of radio silence, can they pick up where they left off? Is Gage the only person on board who Darcy can trust, or will he blow her cover? Gage cannot stand the fact that Darcy has returned to subterfuge. He hates  her job and all the lies, but he can’t seem to get her out from under his skin. His need to protect and watch over her could get them both into trouble, as well as endanger his family and the other clients. Will they be able to set aside their differences and discover the awful truth – what Abby was investigating? Can Gage let go of his bitterness and turn to the One who forgives and gives life?

I thoroughly enjoyed this exciting mystery thriller. It has everything a girl could want – adventure, mystery, suspense, and romance. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters and their thought processes. They weren’t perfect; they had doubts and struggles. They were real and identifiable. Getting to know the McKenna family made me want to read the previous books in the series. Pettrey also set up the main characters for her next  book, Silenced, and now I need to read that one too but it doesn’t come out till May 2014. From my brief look into the author, this is only her first series and third book and I’m super impressed. She has a gift.

I rated the book a 4.5 of out 5 because as much as I enjoyed the book, I was still able to put it down in the beginning. The beginning hooks the reader but it wasn’t quite enough for me to stop everything and finish the book right away. There’s a beautiful thread of God’s love and forgiveness that’s woven throughout the book without getting too preachy. I definitely recommend this book because it has something for everyone.

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