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A Slow Burn by Mary E. DeMuth

Reviewed by Darcie Gudger

"DeMuth holds readers in the tension between regrets of the past and choices for the present."

The anticipated sequel to Daisy Chain, A Slow Burn, takes readers deep into the back-story of Daisy’s mom, Emory Chance. Emory’s grief centers around what could have been rather than what was. Regrets pound her broken heart into sharp shards of pain as memories from her past and anonymous notes from her present spotlight her parental shortcomings.

Hixon Jones believed God told him to marry Emory Chance. Problem was, Emory had no plans of marrying Hixon. With an obedient heart, Hixon vows to love this woman who spews hurt and hate at him while trying to get to the bottom of Daisy’s murder. An inheritance perches on Hixon’s success at winning Emory’s love. But the harder he tries, the harder she pushes back. By the time Emory receives Hixon’s love will it be too late for them both?

DeMuth holds readers in the tension between regrets of the past and choices for the present. She’s not afraid to explicitly explore the elements of sexual abuse and drug use. Readers unfamiliar with such cycles will be shocked, horrified and heartbroken over the powerful hold of addictions. DeMuth handles this topic honestly and graciously.

It would be easy for readers to pass judgment on Emory, concluding she deserves what she got in life because her life is surrounded by the sordid. It is the skill of the author, and the author’s sensitive heart of The Father that allows readers’ hearts to break for Emory Chance and see people around them in the real world in a whole new light.

A Slow Burn is not an easy read. I had to put it down at times and take an emotional break. It’s a different read than Daisy Chain in that it reads less like a suspense novel focusing more on characters and those internal conflicts driving the overarching plot. Readers expecting “happily-ever-after” endings may not appreciate the realism of the “Defiance Texas Trilogy”. This is not a book to entertain, but a book to change perspective and hopefully some lives.


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Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.