Monday, July 26, 2010

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Grace Divine—daughter of the local pastor—always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared and her brother Jude came home covered in his own blood.

Now that Daniel's returned, Grace must choose between her growing attraction to him and her loyalty to her brother.  As Grace gets closer to Daniel, she learns the truth about that mysterious night and how to save the ones she loves, but it might cost her the one thing she cherishes most: her soul.  (Taken from Goodreads that quotes this is from the inside jacket of the book.)

First of all, the Divine family looks perfect from the outside.  But perfection on the outside is always hiding a terrible secret on the inside and the Divine family is no different.  Jude, the oldest Divine child is seemingly a Saint.  He spends his afternoons working in the shelter with his dad, he delivers food to those in need, he's preachy, and just too good to be true.  Was he always this way?  We don't know.  We don't know what he was like before this terrible thing happened to him and his friend Daniel disappeared.  Before Daniel left, they had been best of friends, but afterwards, he hated Daniel and wanted everyone in the family to hate him, especially Grace, his sister a year younger than him.

Grace is also saintly.  Truly, these kids are too good to be true, but we get to hear into Grace's mind because she'd like to do some normal teenage things.  And she notices when things are bad between her parents because her mother does what she calls "OCD cleaning", scrubbing and cleaning until her hands are raw and the house is spotless.  And Daniel comes back and Grace can't stay away from him.  Jude pleads with her, but she's drawn to him and despite heroic acts and other good deeds, Grace and her father are the only ones that believe in him, until Grace finds out what happened that night.  After that, she stays away from Daniel.
She can't believe her father would allow him near her.  She wrestles with her faith, there is a lot of Christianity in there about grace and forgiveness so if that bothers you,  skip the book.  It wasn't really preachy, maybe about forgiveness, but I hate preachy books and it didn't bother me at all.

There are other characters in the book that aren't developed at all, but just side dishes.  Amy is Grace's best friend and after years of mooning over Jude from afar all of a sudden she goes up and talks to him and he talks to her and they become an item.  Grace is really shocked because she had no idea that Jude was interested in her.  But Amy only has a few line in the story after that.  Grace's mom could be interesting as she scrubs and cooks to compensate for a fight she and her husband had and then something  her husband is blamed for, but other than discipline and helplessness, she doesn't do anything.  Dad is a character at least I can understand at all.  He leaves everything for Grace to figure out when knowing would have been helpful.
And there's Don, a man that hangs around the parish and works at the market who Mr. Divine is constantly bailing out of trouble because he brings a knife to work.  He's not too hard to figure out, but I didn't put it all together until the very end.

I think the book was a little choppy even though there were titles about what time of day or day of week it was.  It just didn't flow smoothly but, by the ending of the book is so unexpected, I couldn't put the book down at that point.  I had no idea what was going to happen and since the next book comes out in December, it's already on my preorder list.  I think as the writer gains more experience the writing will flow easier and hopefully we will understand the other characters better.

If you don't mind a little scripture with your reading, you will like this book.  It definitely has a lot about forgiveness in it, which we could all use a little more of and really it relates to the story since the father is a preacher.


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