Rhonda and I met online initially, frequenting some of the same blogs and writing loops. Then, I had the pleasure of meeting her face to face at the 2008 Faith and Fiction Retreat. It was just a short year or so ago, but it seems like eons past. At that time, Rhonda had already signed a contract for her debut novel and was working hard on revisions and other preparations for this day.
Rhonda was sunny in disposition, pragmatic in outlook, and willing to share--traits I enjoy in others--so I knew we'd hit it off. It was fun getting to know someone who is an even bigger fan of author Victoria Christopher Murray than me. Until then, I wasn't sure that was possible.
Rhonda owns Legacy Editing, a freelance editing service for fiction writers. She's also the vice president of the Faith Based Fiction Writers of Atlanta. Originally from New Jersey, she's called Atlanta home for the past twelve years. Her "journey to publication" is a testament to her confidence in her writing and the ability to exercise her faith. (You can get the full story on her blog.)
ABOUT THE BOOK
...old memories and new enemies set on revenge.
Faith Morgan is struggling with her faith. Years of poor communication and neglect leave her doubting that God will ever fix her marriage. When a coworker accuses her husband, Jonah, of the unthinkable, Faith begins to wonder if she really knows him at all, and if it’s truly in God’s will for them to stay married.
Pediatric cardiologist Jonah Morgan is obsessed with one thing: his work. A childhood incident cemented his desire to heal children at any cost, even his family, but now he finds himself at a crossroads in his life. Will he continue to allow the past to haunt him, or find healing and peace in a God he shut out long ago?
Can Jonah and Faith Morgan keep their marriage together or will secrets and lies tear the family apart?
Read an excerpt here.
Dr. Jonah Morgan is harboring secrets that are affecting his entire life--work, family and faith. Faith Morgan is at her wits' end, knowing something is wrong and that her husband is keeping something from her. Then, some of Jonah's co-workers are motivated to take actions that force everything to the surface--and their marriage to the brink.
Featuring and reviewing books of writer friends can get dicey. Especially debut books, but no worries here. Rhonda wrote a page turner that I devoured in about a day and a half. You will too.
Secrets and Lies is a well-written story featuring realistic characters in a realistic plot. No extraordinary twists requiring the reader to suspend all sense of disbelief here. No, this endearing story features a husband and wife trying to work through the issues that keep their marriage and their family from being whole.
Although I think Secrets and Lies was intended to be more Faith's story, I saw it as Jonah's story. It was easy to understand the pain Jonah felt and carried into marriage from his past, and how that pain drove his entire life. I also found it interesting, if a bit uncommon in Christian fiction, as to how Rhonda chose to portray his faith--belief in God but not saved; weak church attendance but supportive of his wife's activities/involvement.
Last, I loved the cover art. The pose of a man and woman with their eyes closed and heads together could signal anguish, reconciliation, or the realization of a deep, profound love. Secrets and Lies is a wonderful debut, and I look forward to more from my friend, Rhonda.
Meet the characters from Secrets and Lies:
Faith Morgan – “There’s nothing more important to me than my family, but it seems the more I try to keep things together, the more they fall apart. Jonah is so distant, and he works all the time. I’m starting to wonder if he still loves me, and I know my son, Eric is thinking the same thing. I’ve been praying and asking God to help fix my marriage. But if it doesn’t get better soon, I’ll have to take things into my own hands. And I guess that’s the way God wants it. I mean, if he doesn’t do anything to change Jonah, maybe that’s my sign that we aren’t supposed to be together after-all.”
Jonah Morgan – “I can’t believe its 9 p.m. and I’m just getting out of this hospital. Faith’s going to have a fit. I think Eric had a baseball game tonight. I’ve got to make the next one, or I’ll be sleeping in the spare bedroom. Might as well be in there though, for all the action I’m getting in my own. Is that my cell phone or my pager? – My mom again. The women in my life are driving me crazy. I’ll call back tomorrow. I hope Faith made something good for dinner.”
If you enjoy prequels, Rhonda's written two short stories that show how Jonah and Faith got together, ten years before Secrets and Lies. Here's Jonah's decision to approach Faith, and Faith getting ready for their first date.
Secrets and Lies is available now at bookstores everywhere. Learn more about Rhonda and her books at her website, http://www.rhondamcknight.net/index.html and check out her blog, Urban Christian Fiction Today. Her second book, An Inconvenient Friend, comes out in August 2010.
Peace & Blessings,
Stay focused. Be deliberate. Believe.