Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book Review: Unspoken by Dee Henderson

Unspoken by Dee Henderson
Bethany House Publishers, 1st Octber, 2013

Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.

She's never said a word--to the cops, to her doctors, to family--about those four years.

A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn't find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn't know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate--and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor--she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter...


So from having read Dee's O'Malley series - and loving them to following her to Full Disclosure and now Unspoken, something has changed in her manner of story telling. For one the books are longer and more involved and there is more character depth. At the same time, the action and mystery that characterized the O'Malley series isn't there.

The lack of action and suspense doesn't bother me really, the book did however fell a bit flat. I didn't dislike it (only elements of it) and I liked it enough to want to read her next book. In many ways this book is a slow, mostly enjoyable read that focuses on Charlotte and Bryce's budding relationship. The relationship is handled nicely. The interlocking plots work well and the overall tone of the book is good.

I found though that I couldn't related to Charlotte. she is a closed door to almost everyone is the book due to her past (I get that and am okay with that). The problem with that is though, is that she then becomes a closed door to the reader. We don't really get to see Charlotte's emotions or to know what her real thoughts are. We don't ever break past the exterior wall she's got up. Bryce kind of did, but not enough. Perhaps as the years go by he will, however we as readers will never know that.

Bryce was a little too perfect for me. He is patient and so understanding of Charlotte that is stretches the impossibility level. I am married to a patient and understanding man (I really mean patient and understanding) but even he is human and runs out of both on occasion. Bryce never seems to. He doesn't seem to need to learn to be patient, or if he does his road to patient isn't really delved into.

My last point on what I didn't like was the amount of Charlotte's wealth and the coins - so many coins that it seemed almost ludicrous. Plus, there is only so much information a reader can take in regarding how coins are valued, sold, processed, marketed etc. I admit to skimming those sections as it added nothing to the book.

The one element that I loved was Charlotte's faith journey. She believes in God, but is angry at him. Nowhere does Dee try and hurry Charlotte along in making peace with herself and with God. Dee uses Bryce to open discussion with Charlotte on this issue a few times throughout the book and their dialogue reflects genuineness and a unhurried journey. That was beautiful!

I might sound a little harsh, but truly I'm not meaning to. I simply wish Dee had given us more human traits for both Charlotte and Bryce. I imagined those human traits as I went along and for me the story came more alive. I'm willing to give her next book Undetected which will release April 29th, 2014 a go. I'm generally a loyal reader and Dee is still a good writer and worth persevering with.

 Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.


Jess' favourite genre is contemporary women's fiction and contemporary romance fiction. She also enjoys historical fiction with a focus on romance. She loves books set in country towns or farms with a cowboy featured in either historical or contemporary settings.

She is currently writing her first novel, a contemporary women's fiction/romance set in a small country town.

5 comments:

  1. I loathed Full Disclosure but enjoyed Unspoken (my review will be posting in the next week or so), but I do agree with you. I found it really odd to read a 'romantic suspense' novel with no suspense and very little romance, because the whole novel was from the male point of view.

    And John Key as a character name? Let's just be happy his love interest wasn't a character named Julia Gillard.

    Like you, I'll give the next one a go, but only if I can get a free review copy. She's currently batting at 50% for me, and that's not enough for me to pay money for after buying Full Disclosure.

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    1. Hi Iola, I wasn't a massive fan of Full Disclosure...for my taste, both the men in her latest two books are a little too perfect and the women emotionally unavailable. Love the JG comment by the way!

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  2. Again, this book is on my book club's 2014 list. We liked Full Disclosure, even though it was a departure from her earlier work. I liked the deeper character development. Thanks for your thoughts on Disclosure.

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    1. Hi Beckie, thanks for dropping by! I think one of the big problems Dee is facing is that her O'Malley series was so well loved and what she is writing now is so different from that in many ways and now her fans don't know what to do! I kind of like what she is doing now, so am willing to work with her for a while. :)

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  3. Oops, I meant Unspoken! I agree that the O'Malley's hang over her other books. I read book 1, but never made it into the others in the series. My book club members loved them though.

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