Reviewed by Lori Fox
"Marilynn Griffith has a wonderful gift for bringing characters to life."
When Raya Joseph’s life came apart at the seams she fled L.A. to begin her life anew in New York City. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But her past just wouldn’t leave her alone.
Shaking off the drab persona she’d worn in L.A. to please her family, fiance, and so-called friends, Raya moved in with her spirited grandmother, changed her hair, clothes, and attitude. Still struggling to let go of her past, new crises arose with the return of someone from her past, unexpected health problems with friends and family, and the feelings stirred up by a handsome man with gorgeous eyes- who’s first words to her are “God loves you”.
Meanwhile, Flex Dunham is also trying to forget his past, concentrate on buying a home for himself and his mother, and build up his finances and reputation enough to strike out on his own in the fitness business. And he’s succeeding. With the advice of his friend and stylist, Flex has been attracting a steady flow of clients. If he could just stay focused, he might be able to achieve his goals within a few years. So why did God choose now to send along someone so distracting?
Flex and Raya both have pasts that they’ve been trying to escape. God has forgiven them, but they can’t forgive themselves. And if they can’t forgive themselves, how can they forgive each other?
Marilynn Griffith begins a powerful story in this first installment of the Shades of Style series. Two people who have been hurt in the past, have to find a way to accept God’s love and grace before their personal pain tears them apart.
One of the things that I like best about this book is that not only does the author write from both Raya and Flex’s perspectives, but she does it well. Flex comes through just as realistically as Raya does, and he gives a lot of perspective to the story. Everything in this book is balanced: Flex and Raya, heavy and light themes, and the pacing. Though, to be honest, I think my favorite part is the way she names things. For example, the name of the fashion design house Raya works for is called Garment of Praise Fashion Design.
Though my favorite things tend to be the hidden jewels in a book, Marilynn Griffith does the big things well too. Her characters speak, think, and act just like the rest of us. We all know that God will forgive us, and has, even before we ask it---but how many of us can let go of our sins and mistakes as easily? And as the characters are reminded throughout the book---the consequence of sin is death, and only God can save us.
Marilynn Griffith has a wonderful gift for bringing characters to life, and the rare ability to find the humor in everyday details.
Lori Fox is a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews for TitleTrakk.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt Disney World as possible with her wonderful husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.