You can always count on David C. Cook to publish great reads. This one is no exception. Justified is Book 2, but you'd never know it if you read it. You don't have to have read Jaded because this one is a complete stand alone. You may be stepping into the middle of a story, but you have a full, satisfying, complete read in Justified.
There are three main characters that are so exquisitely developed you are captivated by the end of the first chapter. I have to admit, I wasn't particularly fond of Fawn in the beginning, then I understood why by the end of the second chapter. After that, I couldn't put the book down. I ached for her hurts, and rejoiced over her small triumphs. I warned her not to trust the rat who had gotten her pregnant, and rejoiced as she grew fond of and fell in love with a very good, Christian man.
There is a reason why the reader is taken into the head of the antagonist, but I really detest head jumping. That kind of writing is lazy in my opinion. However, Denman does a good job with the transitions so the head jumping isn't such a reading shock. I still think there is no need for the head jumping into the baby's father's head. His motives and his thought processes are quite discernible by his actions.
Fawn's character is quite poignant. As her faith grows from mere surface platitudes and actions into a deeply felt heart change, she becomes a tender, true-blue Christian rather than a brittle play-like Christian. I really like the way Coach points out her flaws in such a gentle, but firm way. Without believers being held accountable, believers never grow. This story illustrates that adage marvelously.
Denman also illustrates certain characteristics that Christians are gifted with because we are children of God: Strength of character, willingness to change our attitude so that we align more correctly with God's will, tender mercies, forgiveness, discernment, and other more complicated characteristics.
Several facets of human behavior are studied in this novel. One that really is not a biblical principle is forgiving one's self. No place in the Bible talks about this, however believers have a tendency to be harder on themselves than on others. They assume they must forgive themselves, when actually it is Satan that is using our past to kill and destroy our present peace and forgiveness from God. Other human behaviors are romance, need for comforting, motherly instincts, strength of character to resist others trying to direct our path. These characteristics are deftly infused into the storyline to make the story flow in river-like grace: smooth and deep, to white water rapids, then back to smooth and deep. It is a wonderful, exciting ride. The book is well worth the money, and is definitely a keeper. Five of five stars.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In a small Texas town ruled by gossip, Fawn Blaylock believes others are justified in condemning her untimely pregnancy. Stifled by guilt, she yearns for grace while the local football coach treats her with gentle respect.
Justified perfectly captures the rhythm and romance of life in a small town, telling the unforgettable story of a woman searching for renewal, a man looking beyond what others see, and a community torn between judgment and love. It is the unforgettable story of broken dreams, second chances, and relentless hope.