Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Familiar Stranger

Title: The Familiar Stranger
Author: Christina Berry
ISBN: 978-0-8024-4731-9

From the back cover:

"Why is Craig so cold and distant? Denise wonders. Is it his job? The family? Or is it me? Though she’s poured her heart into her marriage, years of enduring his long hours, frequent times away, and short temper have left her with a deep sadness.

Then one morning in the middle of church her cell phone rings. Embarrassed, she heads to the lobby takes the call…and is shocked by the news she hears. Craig’s been in an accident.
So begins their fresh start. While keeping vigil by his bedside she wills herself to make their marriage work, whatever the cost. And when Craig finally regains consciousness, he appears to want the same thing—except for one detail. He doesn’t know who she is.

Nor does he remember anything about their life, their children, or why he was parked on the side of the freeway when the accident occurred. As he struggles to recall the past, he also shows a new love for Denise characterized by tender strength and consideration. So what is she to do when ugly betrayals emerge? Is it possible to forgive a man who thoroughly violated her trust? How many more lies and secrets are yet to be discovered?
And then, without warning, his memories come flooding back… "

Wow! I kept saying that over and over as I read this book. I just couldn’t believe the next surprise~ the next twist… Christina Berry amazed me with the not only the revelations her characters dealt with, and their responses to it – but how believable it all was. I was reading this incredible story and the people in it seemed as flesh and bone as my own sons and husband in the next room.

Denise is not perfect, but she is the kind of woman you want to be. She is brave, forgiving, loves God and her family. Her sons reminded me so much of my own – including their near opposite personalities. I was heartbroken at the hurt and inspired by the healing that happened in the book.

If I had a negative it would only be that the end came too swiftly and I would have loved for that storyline to continue.

I am always more ... "open" on my blog and tell you all what I was thinking and feeling even more than I share on my website and the reviews I do on Amazon and places like that... I have to tell you that this book caught me totally off guard. I was prepared not to like it. I liked the author's page and her personality seemed wonderful - but when I read the back cover and I thought about the premise of reading about a bad marriage and could she forgive betrayals... well I just don't read stuff that depresses me. I like to be inspired and happy. Call it lazy of me. I am not one of those deep literary types that needs angst to survive. I like my happy endings.

This book did challenge me - and it did inspire me. It gave me so much more than a happy ending. I cannot believe this is her first book. It makes me want to shred my manuscript and start over again. You really should read it. I hope you will and I hope you like it.


  1. Hi Lee!

    I just won this on a blog last week, I'm REALLY excited to get this and read it...even more so now since you recommend it! Thank you for the review!

    XOXO~ Renee

  2. Lee, thank you for an awesome review!

    I'm especially glad you included your note at the end...I didn't want to read this book either...but, now that I've read your thoughts on it, I kinda do want to read it. I completely agree with you on the "happy endings", nor do I enjoy serious/depressing stories. There's enough of that going on in the world right now, that it's the last thing I want to read about!!

    ~ Lori

  3. Lee, I missed this "longer" explanation when you first posted it, but had to come over when I saw your wonderful comment on Camy Tang's post.

    I just met with my first book club to have read the book and one woman was saying she wanted more anger and struggle. I told her that there were many, many books out there with that plot line and I wanted to write something unusual/remarkable. Plus, if there are three chapters of anger, that means I have to live in it for weeks to write it! ;)