I have spent a few years – too many years – carrying around guilt for things that happened in the past. It is easy for me to say that God has forgiven me because I asked him to. And it's true, and intellectually I believe it, but emotionally and spiritually it is hard to let go, to stop blaming myself, whether it was really my fault or not. It's Satan's favorite trick, to hide forgiveness under bitterness and hurt and blame. If he can make sure you never forgive yourself, he can keep you from being effective in so many areas of your life. So I guess Aurora and I have something in common.
How do you escape your own blame game?
See, Aurora has spent 5 years blaming herself for her brother's death at the hands of a notorious drug lord. People keep telling her, “Rory, you need to forgive yourself and let go,” but she fights it every step of the way. It has destroyed some of her closest relationships, including her relationship with God, and now the nightmares wake her up at night.
But something happens to push her over the edge towards letting go. And it turns her whole life around and upside down. It reminds me of one of my own recent experiences of letting go…all of a sudden, I was hit with a series of wins in finances, career, friendship, and ministry. Aurora experiences a personal transformation – the one that comes when you forgive yourself – with a killer on her tail. I guess there is no time like the present to get your life on track!
Note: This page contains affiliate links – they sure help to pay off those student loans, and they don't cost you anything extra! For more information, please see my disclosure page. Also, I requested a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What did I think of Shadows from the Past?
I really enjoyed reading Shadows from the Past. It's a little rough. The scene transitions aren't so clearly indicated, so sometimes I got a little confused (I think this was a formatting issue more than anything), some of the flashbacks weren't as natural as they could be. And I think we really needed to get introduced to the bad guy and get to know him before we find out he's the one that betrayed her. Otherwise, we don't feel the weight of the betrayal – or the forgiveness – so strongly.
But I loved the premise of this book, the constant nagging of Jordan's family (I kept wondering if he had any more siblings!), and Aurora's sheer love for the family she chose. And I LOVED the self-examination I had to do after I realized what happens when you forgive yourself.
Is this the best book I have ever read?
No. But we get better at writing by…writing. And I liked this one enough to sign up to review the next one in the series. I really want to know about some of the other characters in this series…and I really want to see where this author goes. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys clean suspense.
PS I don't know about you, but sometimes I wish I had some way to process what I was reading. (That's why I love to do book reviews!). One great way to do that is by keeping a book journal. I have created a resource just for you, my fellow read-a-holics: a list of journal prompts for Christian readers of fiction. Note that I didn't say “readers of Christian fiction” because you can use these questions with secular writers as well. (Whaaat? Can secular stories teach you about God? Hmmm. Sounds like a blog post idea.)
About the Author
Ashley Dawn was born and raised in rural Arkansas where she developed her love for writing while helping in her parent's office. She graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Central Arkansas but is currently working as a legal assistant.
Ashley has been writing professionally for the past twelve years and has three published books. Her Shadows Series include Shadows From The Past, Shadows of Suspicion, Shadows of Pain, and Shadows of Deception. She is currently working on multiple projects including the fifth in her ‘Shadows’ series entitled “Shadows in Black and White” and also a standalone suspense titled ‘One of Their Own’. She and her family make their home in Texas. You can connect with Ashley online at www.ashleydawn-author.com or on Facebook (AuthorAshleyDawn) or Twitter (AuthorADawn).