- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Abingdon Press (March 15, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1426795483
- ISBN-13: 978-1426795480
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,010,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Stronghold Paperback – March 15, 2016
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About the Author
Lisa Carter is the author of Carolina Reckoning, Beneath a Navajo Moon, Under a Turquoise Sky, and Aloha Rose. She and her husband have two daughters and make their home in Raleigh, North Carolina. A member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime, when she isn’t writing, Lisa enjoys traveling, quilting, and researching her next romantic adventure. Visit her online at LisaCarterAuthor.com.
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As with all of her books which I have read so far, Carter includes names, phrases and customs that are unique to the cultures she highlights--in this case, Apache and Mexican people. Of particular significance in this story are the custom of wearing Apache tears, polished obsidian pendants, to remind you of a loved one. She also repeats the phrase, "death before surrender," and the idea that Apaches don't do forgiveness but vengeance.
An important device in this novel is that Lisa Carter switches back-and-forth between the present and a time "before," gradually unfolding the back story of her characters as the action plays out. As a young girl, Pilar classified family and friends according to their strengths--which she referred to as "superpowers." We see how the attraction between her and Alex existed from the day they first met and then how they were alienated from one another through a series of poor choices and unfortunate events. Pilar bears horrible physical, as well as emotional scars, suffered at the hands of the same serial rapist and murderer she and Alex find themselves investigating together from the San Carlos reservation all the way into Mexican drug territory.
This book was a real page-turner. In addition to the fast pace and suspense of a murder mystery/thriller, there are plenty of unexpected plot twists. For example, I didn't realize how important Reyna was to Pilar's nephew, Manny. For that matter, I did not anticipate the true nature of Pilar's relationship to her teen-aged ward. The history of Isabel, Alex's grandmother and Pilar's guardian, came as a surprise, as well. You really have to be on your toes to catch the subtle hints throughout the narrative whose significance is not revealed until later on.
It was interesting that Alex could see the evil in the villain's heart right away, while Pilar and Manny were captivated by his charm and good looks. Pilar, on the other hand, immediately sensed the threat to her nephew in the villain's female accomplice.
I love what Alex says in the story about Pilar's habit of "cutting" to deal with her pain. He tells her the only blood-letting that can make a person clean is Jesus' sacrifice.
While I agree that Pilar never asked to be attacked and that Alex did not drive her into the predator's arms, I think it was wrong to lay all the blame at the rapist's feet. Alex was right to feel guilty for hurting Pilar by lying so cruelly to her. His alienation of the girl led to her foolish effort to get back at him for taking advantage of her. Pilar's vengeful and reckless response put her into an extremely risky situation.
I found only one error in the entire Advance Reader's copy of this book--something unheard of, in my opinion! This author and her editorial team did a fantastic job to have pulled this off.
Learning what was revealed at the end of this story, I would love to see a sequel or prequel highlighting Abuela and Segundo's story. Nevertheless, this is a really good novel I am sure most Christians would appreciate. It has something for everyone--mystery, romance, action, adventure, humor and pathos. It is NOT suitable for young people, as the main subject matter is dark and disturbing. It may reopen old wounds for those who have suffered sexual assault. On the other hand, it may be helpful for those who know someone who has thus been traumatized, as it could shed light on the reasons behind certain behaviors of their loved ones. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to Lisa Carter's next book!
The story deals with a long lost love, the FBI, Native American traditions, and Christian values - what could go wrong? Well, considering some of the books I've read, a lot. Just because an author has a lot of good themes and subjects doesn't make it a good book. This one is good. I was drawn into the story right at the start, and finished with a teary eye a few hours later. The story revolves around a Native American woman who is recovering from horrific actions she encountered at the same time she lost her love. It winds around the reservation and into Mexico as it unfolds. At a few points it was a bit larger than I'd believe life would be, but that's OK - I was sucked into the plot and pulling for the characters. The author does a fine job of involving you in the story. The Christian beliefs are at the core, but there is an undercurrent of Native American mysticism as well. This isn't a "hack job"; it is a careful rendering of a nice story.
The writing is third person, switching well between the two main characters. Sometimes books will get lost in the style and lose the story, but this book provides both in abundance. It is nice to see an author who uses words to create the tale rather than just put ink on a page. I was never bored, but then I always like a good mystery and Native American history, so it was bound to be attractive for me. However, just on the story itself, I think anyone would like it. The Christian themes may seem a bit strange to non believers, but those "overt" moments are infrequent (but meaningful to a Christian). The combination of love story between two people and the love of God really got to me. This is Christian writing that is well done.
The book deals with horrific acts (mostly in the past), but does so in a tasteful manner. Nothing objectionable here, and no bad language. The book is suitable for Junior High and above due to the subject matter.
Summary: A moving tale well told. Highly recommended.
The book’s title is so appropriate on more than one level. Not only does Pilar have emotional strongholds from her past to overcome but she and her ex-fiance Alex must risk everything to breach the mountain stronghold of the madman who is responsible for the disappearance and deaths of several young teens.
“The Stronghold” is brilliantly written with a swiftly moving plot and strong characterizations. I didn’t want to put it down before the end and as a result was a slacker of household chores and missed some sleep as well. All in all, the book met all my expectations with the exception of the cover art that I felt did not live up to the gorgeous scenic covers of previous books. But the story line and characters were excellent so I really can’t complain. Once again, Lisa Carter has come up with a winner!
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