The Familiar Stranger, by Christina Berry
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Author Christina Berry is a single mom and foster parent, carving time out of a busy schedule to write. The Familiar Stranger is her debut novel. She resides with her family in Oregon.
Denise and Craig’s seventeen year marriage had been on the rocks for some time. He could be cold and distant, and she could be controlling and obsessive. With him working long hours and frequenting short temper, it left them both with a deep sadness. Then, while in church, Denise’s cell phone rings and she is blown away when she finds out that Craig has been in an accident. With Craig having no memory of her, their two sons, or their life together, Denise is determined to make this a fresh start for them all. She keeps vigil in the hospital and stands by him through his painful recovery. But secrets are emerging about his life before the accident, leaving Denise with more questions than answers, and wondering if she ever knew Craig at all. Why was he standing by the side of the highway in the first place? Who was the stranger with him? How many more betrayals will she uncover? Can she forgive a man who is so obviously changed? And then, suddenly, his memories come flooding back…
Admittedly, and though nothing provoked me to feel this way, I didn’t have high hopes for this book. Honestly, I thought it was going to resemble a soap opera. How wrong I was. I was blown away by how powerful this book was. Told from first-person point-of-view from both main characters, Denise and Craig, this story will draw you in from the first page and hold you captive until the last. It sends a strong message of faith, (which will interest inspirational readers), has a puzzle to the plot as the secrets are revealed, (which will interest mystery lovers), shows the roots and troubles within a marriage, (which married persons can relate to), a bit of romance, and a strong dramatic element which fictional readers can revel in. I figured out where the author was going with the book about half-way through, but it did not deter me from reading as there were things I didn’t see coming as well, nor was I disappointed with the ending. Revealing any more will ruin it for future readers, but trust me when I say that this was a very well-written, engaging, and bittersweet story- one in which shouldn’t be overlooked.
Author and Reviewer