A suspicious online romance reconnects an agoraphobe and an old friend.
Nursing a hurt leg, psychiatrist Jared Quinby arrives in Culpeper, Virginia, on a case for the FBI. The investigation leads him to the doorstep of his childhood best friend, Mary Divers. Meeting Mary again is the one bright spot in his life.
Suffering from agoraphobia, Mary has at last found love with online beau David Kline and dares to dream of a future with him. Then David reveals he will be leaving the United States to become a missionary in Peru. Determined to stop living in fear, she accepts David’s marriage proposal, even though she’s never met him face-to-face.
As Jared’s case intersects with Mary’s online relationship, the more he uncovers, the more he fears for her safety. Jared tries to convince Mary not all is right with David, but she refuses to believe him. When tragedy strikes, Mary pushes Jared even farther away.
Will Jared convince Mary of the truth—and of his love for her—before it’s too late?
My thoughts: I thought that this book was fascinating with the underbelly of the internet that it exposed! Poor Mary has been a prisoner in her home since a traumatic experience (trigger warning) left her with a desire to remain in a safe space. Unfortunately, that doesn't give her much time to meet other singles. After talking to a missionary minded young man online, she suddenly has not one, but two possible love interests.
Overall, I enjoyed this story and the twists to the mystery. This is a delightful story to pick up and enjoy!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.
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About the Author
Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child, with nonfiction and romantic suspense books published. Her stories have also appeared in several Chicken Soup for the Soul volumes. She’s a member of ACFW and ACFW Virginia Chapter, as well as the president of Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Her podcast, “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” can be found wherever you listen to podcasts. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, and three cats.
More from Sarah
Have you ever heard a story from a friend (or a friend of a friend) and thought it sounded more like fiction than reality? That’s what happened to me years ago when I heard first-hand a story about a woman who had been deceived by someone close to her.
Even while I grieved with my friend about the lies that had been told at her expense, I also admit to thinking, “That would make a fantastic storyline.” A couple of years later, I asked the friend for permission to use the basic outline of that story for what became Illusion of Love. To keep this friend’s identity a secret—and to avoid giving away the ending of my book—that’s all I can reveal to you.
However, what I can talk about is how interesting people’s reaction to the based-on-a-true story aspect has been along this book’s journey to publication. Most expressed their conviction that something similar could never happen to them. Part of that disbelief comes from our faith in our own ability to ferret out the truth from those around us.
Unfortunately, time and again, it’s been proven that we can be terrible when it comes to judging the true character of others! This is why people get away with pretending to be royalty or people lose money to someone’s Ponzi scheme or why those in authority can often get away with heinous crimes for years (#MeToo, Catholic priest sexual scandals are too horrific examples). Along the way, you’ll find people who wanted to think they wouldn’t be deceived…and were or who overlooked signs that in hindsight pointed right at the lie or perpetrator.
Why has this kept happening over and over again throughout history? I think it boils down to the simple fact that we want to believe we have excellent judgment when it comes to the character and intentions of others, whether we meet those people face to face or online. We also have a tendency, especially if we’re female, to ignore our gut when it tells us to be careful or wary of someone or a particular situation.
Especially when there’s real danger involved—in cases of potential abuse or criminal activity—it’s important to be prepared as much as we can be. One of the best books on this topic is Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear. It’s a book I’ve recommended my teenage daughters and sons read before heading to college. What Gavin does is break down why our initial impressions can be wrong and why paying attention to our gut—that unconscious part of ourselves—can be crucial to staying safe, even if it means we sometimes offend or make people mad or upset. If only Mary, my heroine in Illusion of Love, had read The Gift of Fear, things might have turned out differently for her.
Why do you think we believe in our own judgment when it comes to people?
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 15
CarpeDiem, September 15
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 16
Inklings and notions, September 17
Texas Book-aholic, September 18
lakesidelivingsite, September 18
For Him and My Family, September 19
deb’s Book Review, September 20
Mary Hake, September 20
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 21
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 22
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 23
A Reader’s Brain, September 23
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 24
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 25
Pause for Tales , September 25
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 26
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 27 (Author Interview)
Spoken from the Heart, September 27
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 28
To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card & eBook copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.