of the Mother: A Novel
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Paperback: 379 pages
Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (June 1, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
Reviewed by Idrissa Uqdah
Victoria Christopher Murray is the best selling author of several contemporary novels that touch on hot topics that church people aren't too eager to disclose. Her infamous character, Jasmine Larson has been featured in three of those novels and she is certainly the character I have loved to hate. What else can Jasmine be up to this time? You would never guess.
A former stripper who has spent many years lying, stealing and sleeping with married men; she has finally settled down. She is now married to Rev. Hosea Bush, pastor of one of the largest churches in New York City. She is also the mother of two wonderful children; four-year-old Jacqueline and baby Zaya.
Jasmine seems to have finally found some peace in her life and she has grown spiritually as a person. She loves her husband and her children and life for Jasmine has come full circle.
Then comes that fateful day just when she has given her life to God. Jasmine's young daughter Jacqueline is kidnapped in from a crowded mall in New York City at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Jasmine is horrified. When the days turn into weeks and the child is not found Jasmine is beside herself. Why would God let this happen to her? Her faith wanes under the pressure. As usual, Jasmine thinks it is all about her.
She completely falls apart especially when the police look into her background after someone sends an anonymous e-mail accusing her of having something to do with he child's abduction. She and her husband submit to a lie-detector test. He is cleared but Jasmine's results come up questionable.
By the second chapter; I began to wonder too, if maybe someone finally had sought revenge for some of Jasmine's dirty deeds. Would her child become the victim of her mother's past. Of course having read several of the author's novels; I was sure it was just not that easy but where was this child? Who had taken her and why?
Murray gives us a story full of complex questions. She gives us characters that are just as complex. Kidnapping and child abuse make for a difficult read. How does the mother of a missing child hold on and what if the child is never found? How do the parents move on with their lives? The author took a risk to assign these emotions to a character like Jasmine. But Murray's work is known to be risky. She makes you think about the themes that she writes about.
As a Christian author; she knows how to stretch a Christian's faith. And this storyline bent poor Jasmine out of shape. She turned into herself in grief. I was beginning to feel sorry for her myself. But as usual, Jasmine showed she was still Jasmine. Her husband; Rev. Hosea Bush was doing all he could to comfort Jasmine and to search for Jacqui but she turns away from him. She blames him for not caring enough. She becomes as mean and as hateful as the Jasmine of her past.
The back story concerning Jasmine and Jacqueline's biological father, Dr. Brian Lewis added the fire to fuel the storyline even further. His affair with Jasmine had ended his marriage. After years of having no contact with Jasmine or the child; Brian learns of his daughter's kidnapping. Loaded down with his own emotional baggage, he takes a leave from his medical practice in California and comes to New York to help in the search. His presence added even more conflict to the story.
SINS OF THE MOTHER is a compelling read. I kept reading from chapter to chapter anxious to know how the story would end. I really think that this book is the author's best "Jasmine" story. The plot thickens even as the story comes to an end. The ending is climatic. I never would have guessed the spectacular finale. This novel is a very well written drama full of intense scenes and snappy dialog. Readers of Christian fiction will not be disappointed.