CHARISSE by Fay Lamb

Reviewed by Nike Chillemi –

I most often review murder mysteries, thrillers, police procedurals, and if I’m up against a wall a romantic suspense. That’s tongue in cheek, but you get it. So why am I reviewing CHARISSE, a romance novel? Well, because there’s plenty of mystery in this story, the kinds of mysteries and dilemmas life throws at individuals. And, it’s well written.

Main characters Charisse Wellman and Judge Gideon Tabor are both hiding something. Add to the mix a jealous harridan in stilettos named Delilah, who lives up to her name and you’ve got one interesting story.

Charisse carries pain, insecurity, and disappointment from her high school days, when she was quite overweight. Now as a widow who has just lost her beloved husband, she’s trying to raise her young son. It becomes apparent she must give up her dream of law school and go to work to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. She finds herself interviewing with Gideon Tabor, a local criminal court judge, with whom she had an unpleasant run-in many years ago. But does he remember her? Whatever the case, that incident from long ago, disheartening as it was, is not the only bone she has to pick with him . . . not by a long shot.

Of course, she aces the interview and begins clerking for Judge Tabor. Just as she’s hoping she can put the past behind her and settle into some kind of normal work routine, Judge Delilah James begins playing office politics. Using underhanded tactics, this vixen in judicial robes, turns what could’ve been a pleasant working experience into a nightmare where Charisse is in fear of losing the job she so desperately needs.

On top of this Charisse is battling deep resentment toward the hit-and-run driver who killed her husband and the judicial system that allowed him to get away with it. No matter how much she prays, she can’t get over the bitterness she harbors.

I immediately warmed to V.J., Charisse’s young son. He is the sweetest child, and at times, the pain of the loss of his father is palpable. However, if there is a flaw in this novel, in my opinion, it would be that this darling little boy is just a tad too perfect at times. However, I have a penchant for obviously flawed characters. Other readers might not agree on this point.

There are Christian themes running throughout the entire story. As the characters develop and grow emotionally they attain greater spiritual maturity as well. This is a read I could recommend to any fifteen-year-old, as well as anyone’s great-grandmother. Although romance novels are most often read by women, this is a story I believe many a man would enjoy.

About Nike Chillemi

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She is a member of ACFW and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers on Ning. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 and a Carol Awards 2011 judge, She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction.

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