This week's Wednesday Wonders features
by Shannon Symonds
About Safe House:
True, it was her prison, but it was also her sanctuary.
Where can you turn when your house is not safe? In a small coastal town in Oregon, Amber and Kelly know the deadliest people sleep down the hall. As they attempt to escape the violent, domineering men in their lives, despair fights against faith and hope as an introduction to the Book of Mormon promises them a haven they can’t find in their homes. But getting out of these abusive situations is not as easy as it appears. With their lives spiraling out of control, can they have faith that God’s grace will save them?
As a victim's advocate, Grace James is used to rushing into trouble to save her victims from abuse or assault. And with a handsome officer like Joe Hart at her side, Grace is sure there's nothing she can't do. But an ominous storm brewing on the Oregon horizon is about to change everything-and bring with it dangers and revelations Grace and Joe never expected.
Grace drove up the winding road, high among large new homes. They sat along the edge of the lush Oregon forest on the Pacific Coast Range Mountains. She didn't have to look too hard for the address. An ambulance and two lit up police cars, lights silently rotating, marked the last home at the top of the steep road. Light spilled from every window and the open front door. Ancient pines and a dark old growth forest swayed in the wind behind the house. On the front porch a woman was arguing with a medic, holding a bloody rag to her face.
My Book Review:
This book was a mystery/thriller suitable for teens and adults. The author has worked as an advocate for victims of abuse and/or assault. She has taken her first-hand knowledge of what she had learned in real life to write fiction that is believable and reflects some the actual difficulties with which people can find themselves dealing.
At first I experienced anger directed not only at the abusers, but in the ineffectual response on the part of the victims. The author gently leads a reader to understand how people can find themselves being gradually led into situations that open them up to abuse without realizing the position they are in until it is too late. Her goal, besides telling an excellent and exciting story, is to guide the readers to see how victims who blame themselves for the abuse they receive can work to become survivors who put the blame where it belongs, but sometimes they must accept help from others to do so. The story highlighted not only the issues of spousal abuse, but how much abuse of a spouse can have a negative impact on the children in the family and leave them living in constant fear and uncertainty.
In addition to the social issues and the tensions they provided the characters, this was an exciting adventure as the characters in the town find themselves dealing with a force of nature that threatens to overpower them all, including the modern technology we take so much for granted in this day and age. The action kept me reading.
This is a novel with many L.D.S. (Mormon to much of the world) characters. I believe the novel can be enjoyed by readers who are not L.D.S. since the author depicts people of faith, and some L.D.S. practices, without getting much into doctrine.
The focus of the book was not romance, but the romance elements present were sweet and clean. Not all romances were resolved, which leads me to hope the author may have a sequel to this novel. It was an enjoyable and enlightening read, and I recommend it.
Purchase Links for Safe House:
About Shannon Symonds:
Shannon Symonds currently works as an Advocate serving victims of intimate partner or family violence. Shannon responds with law enforcement to the scene of domestic or sexual assaults, works with victims, accompanies them to the hospital and provides follow-up care. She is a trained trauma and recovery specialist, has completed the Oregon Coalition training as a professional advocate, has completed training as a parent educator, Head Start Teacher, early childhood education certification and one year program, an Associates Degree with an emphasis in Social Services, has worked and trained as an advocate for over 15 years total. She is the recipient of the Oregon Trial Lawyers award for her work to change housing for victims of domestic violence. She is a confident trainer and speaker, and is comfortable working with the public.
You may stay in touch with Shannon on her blog: