Firstborn (by Robin Lee Hatcher)

I'd never heard of Robin Lee Hatcher until I saw some of her books for sale on the MV Doulos, at very good prices. American Christian fiction can be variable in style and quality, so I bought just one of her books at first, not sure what to expect.

'Firstborn' turns out to be an excellent book about family relationships. Steve and Erika seem to have the perfect marriage, and happy family life with their loving and bright son Ethan, who is 17. Erika is a little insecure - her father is rather harsh, her mother died when she was quite young, and she was unable to have any more children after Ethan. Nevertheless her life seems idyllic and people hold her marriage up as one to admire and emulate.

Then she receives a letter which brings to light a secret she has kept for 20 years. Unfortunately the blurb on the back of the book says what this is, which could rather spoil the first part of the story, but it happens relatively early and is hinted at before. This secret threatens to disrupt all she holds dear.

It's a Christian book without being trite or preachy; the people seemed very believable, in particular Steve as he struggles to accept that his wife has kept something from him for so long. All the characters have to face up to their flaws and difficulties, and they all seemed real and believable. Hard to put down once I had started. When I finished, I rushed back to the book exhibition to buy the other three books available by this author! Highly recommended,

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