RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge Review: Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky


Title: Shades of Morning
Author: Marlo Schalesky
Publication Info: Multnomah Books 2010
ISBN: 9781601420251
Genre: Contemporary Romance

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.Author Gail Dayton reviewed this book for the RITA® Reader Challenge. This novel was nominated in the Best Inspirational Romance category.

Shades of Morning, Eyeballs in the HorizonThe plot summary: Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.

Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned.

As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?

And now, Gail’s review:

The heroine’s life is just as she wants it. So what if she has a box full of regrets—written on whatever paper is handy at the moment of regret, and stuffed through a slot in the box—she keeps locked up on a high shelf. Then her life is overturned when she gets a letter from a man she thought she’d locked away in the box, informing her that her sister has died and she’s been named guardian to her teenaged nephew.

Much of the story is told in flashback, as her regrets are hauled into the open and she is forced to deal with everything she tried to leave behind, including the man she once loved.

Some inspirational romances are “inspirational” in the Christianity that pervades the characters’ lives, with little to no overt “preaching” to the readership. Others seem to be as much treatises on Christian doctrine as fictional stories about these particular characters. This is one of the latter, with passages about forgiveness and second chances and much more. And yet, very little of it felt out of place or jarring. It’s a moving story and the spiritual moments fit—though on a few occasions, I thought they went on a teensy bit too long. Still, it is a good story. I liked it quite a bit.

This book is available at Amazon | Kindle | BN & nook | Book Depository | WORD Brooklyn’s eBookstore

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  1. 1
    Miranda says:

    “Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed.”

    This bugged me in Baby Boom, and it bugs me now. I cannot get suspend my disbelief that anyone would leave their kid to, for all intents and purposes a total stranger, without even mentioning it to them, finding out if it’s ok, having them get to know the kid, etc. And in this case, a special-needs kid, who from the review, is going to need additional attention.

    I’m also annoyed by the idea that being handed a child out of the blue is JUST EXACTLY what the poor career woman needs to put her life in order. I don’t care what else Charlaine Harris does, I will always appreciate her for Aurora Teagarden who was pissed off at having to watch her husband’s great-nephew and who handed him to a trusted authority at the first opportunity.

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