Original Books

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Healing Stones by Stephen Arterburn and Nancy Rue

Demetria Costanas vowed to end her affair with Zach Archer that afternoon, but when she gave into temptation this one last time, this act of adultery was inexplicably caught on camera. Photo evidence of her sin forces her to resign from her job as professor at Covenant Christian College. What she did not know what that someone also sent a copy of the pictures to her husband, who has now all but thrown her out of the house. Her son hates her with a vengeance and her daughter is broken seemingly beyond repair. Desperate, Demetria turns to decidedly offbeat psychologist\counselor Sullivan Crisp for help in repairing her shattered life. Slowly, Demetria takes steps to winning her family back, until one day, a strange turn of events changes everything.

With firsthand experience in the counseling room, there is no better author to tell this story than Stephen Arterburn. Excellent character development goes hand in hand with a realistic and imperfect plot to help this book make its mark in the Hall of Five Stars.

Demetria, Zach, Demetria's family, Sullivan, and the other characters are all well crafted, complete with their own imperfections and personalities. This is a plot where no character is exempt from sin. There are no perfect mentor characters where Sully could be a candidate. The only battle between good and evil is within the hearts of the characters, not between any two characters. This is exquisite character development that should be found in every book.

An affair that the lead character is a part of is not an easy plot to write, especially if the author is tempted to give the "good" character an out or a lesser punishment. This is not done in Healing Stones. Where the pages could be filled with Demetria's gloom and dooms, they are filled with realistic, everyday life. Demetria lives her life while undergoing counseling. Sully lives his life while wondering if he could have prevented his wife's suicide. On top of all this, the end of the plot is the icing on the cake. A negative convenient connection connects a wrong choice close to home for Demetria. The extent of a key character's injuries is not fully explored, thus leaving unanswered questions, which is something all plots should have. In short, Stephen Arterburn and Nancy Rue have written a master plot.

The future is bright for budding author Stephen Arterburn as long as he continues down the track of originality.

5 stars

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