I put Veil of Secrets by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel on my Kobo just before flying to San Jose for BlogHer14. And then I couldn’t put it down. Apparently, you can’t even use an e-reader while taking off (at least in Canadian airports), but otherwise, I read while flying and while standing in airport lineups. In fact, I got so lost in the story for the flight over California that I’d look out the window and have to think for a minute to remember where I was. Oh yeah, airplane. Back to the book.
Melanie’s husband Will is the guy behind one of the presidential candidates in the upcoming primary season. She’s used to his political career and she’s okay with it—until he starts pulling their sixteen-year-old daughter into the scene. Melanie arrives in the middle of the election campaign to drag her daughter home again, but instead gets talked into joining the campaign. As she does, ghosts from her past begin to resurface and Will gives her an ultimatum: see a marriage counselor or file for divorce.
Carrie is Will’s younger sister, single, career-minded, and “flighty” according to her sister-in-law. She’s staunchly loyal to Will and thinks it’s fun having her niece around, learning the political ropes and doing all the things she did at that age. Carrie has seen the iciness between Will and Melanie, but she’s facing her own problem right now: an unplanned pregnancy. As she struggles with what to do, two men vie for her attentions: an old classmate turned newspaper reporter and a protestor in the MoveIn movement across the street from the campaign headquarters.
I’m not American, so a lot of the political details of this novel when right over my head (as I realized in attempting to write the above description). Yet Shannon and Kathryn also did a great job of explaining what was going on in a way that kept me turning pages and wanting to know how all the political posturing turned out. I could totally understand how the personal issues that Will, Melanie and Carrie are facing could affect the campaign.
Veil of Secrets is the second book that Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel have written together, and if possible, it’s even better than To Know You. I like the way that they tackle some big issues (abortion, sexual abuse, infidelity) in a story with very real, likeable characters and a non-stop plot. This is gritty, real, Christian fiction that makes readers think but never comes across as preachy.
If you’ve read To Know You, then you’ll recognize Melanie and Will from that book—they are Destiny’s parents, and Destiny features briefly (on the phone) in this novel. Veil of Secrets stands just fine on its own, but I find it fun when authors write novels that are sort of a series but not quite a series by telling the stories of minor characters from other books. (Which also makes me speculate about which other minor characters I’d love to find out more about… I hope Shannon and Kathryn are working on another novel!)
Shannon Ethridge is the best-selling author of 19 books, including The Fantasy Fallacy and the Every Woman series. She has a master’s degree in counseling and originally planned to have a career as a mortician. Today, Shannon is an advocate for healthy sexuality and spirituality through her books, speaking ministry, blog, and coaching. She and her husband have been married for twenty-three years and have two children. You can find out more about Shannon on her website.
Kathryn Mackel is the author of six novels, including Outriders. She’s also a screenwriter who has worked on Disney’s Can of Worms as well as The Hangman’s Curse (based on Frank Peretti’s novel) and Left Behind: The Movie. She has an English degree and an M.A. in Professional Writing. If you hop over to her website, you can enter to win her monthly contest for a free book.
I read a ton of books, but one way that I’ve always measured a really good book is whether it made me feel enough to start crying for the characters. And either I’ve read a lot of really good books lately, or I’m turning into a weepier reader, but this was another book in which I found myself crying (and trying not to, because I was on a plane). Anyone who can make American politics interesting to a Canadian AND make me cry at the same time is a good writer. 🙂
I received this book for review courtesy of BookLook; all opinions expressed are my own.