Not by Sight-Kathy Herman
Kate Cummings led a picture perfect life with a kind, loving husband and 4 great kids. Yes, her life was just the way she always dreamed. Well, it was perfect until her husband and youngest child disappeared without a trace. Five years have passed and no one has seen or heard from either one. Kate has done a good job of making a life for herself and her remaining children, but the unanswered questions have left her with a cold heart. How could the God she loved and trusted allow something like this to happen? How could she ever trust him again? Yes, she has heard the rumors and knows that many believe her husband has just run off and, to some degree, she hopes that is the case. Is it better to think that the man she loves with all her heart simply ran off with another woman and took their youngest daughter rather than believe they met with some kind of accident or foul play? These questions are endless. The not knowing is torture.
Abby, Kate’s oldest daughter, is haunted by the disappearances and just can’t seem to let go. On the day of the five year anniversary of her family’s disappearance, Abby spots a little girl that looks like her missing sister. Quick thinking allows her to get a picture on her cell phone, but the little girl vanishes before Abby can act any further. Abby can’t explain it, but she knows in her very bones that this little girl is the missing Riley Jo.
Back at home, her family is anything but supportive. They attribute it all to Abby’s overactive imagination and relentless hope brought back to the forefront by the anniversary of the disappearances. The only person in her life willing to help is her best friend Jay. With his encouragement, Abby begins circling the picture of the little girl hoping to find someone who knows her. Abby then receives a phone call that changes everything except Abby’s determination and unwavering faith. She is trusting God to provide the answers and bring her family home. Is Abby’s faith misplaced? Is she headed for heartbreak just like her mother?
While, the synopsis of this book had me on the edge of my seat, I couldn’t help but feeling a little disappointed in my first Christian mystery. I should first state that I did like the book as a whole, I just thought it didn’t quite live up to its promise. I think my biggest disappointed was that it was predictable. I had most of the story figured out from the very beginning, so it really took the mystery out of the story for me. Secondly, I thought the story was kind of “goody-goody” and never really delved into the real issues I assume would have come up when a father and his daughter disappear off the face of the earth. In fairness, I believe this was done because of the genre in which Ms. Herman is writing as Christian fiction has to stay on the lighter side than mainstream fiction, and I don’t think I have quite made the correct adjustment. Thirdly, I didn’t find the police procedure and case investigation very realistic.
On the other hand, I did enjoy the book because I really liked the characters. I even liked the mom, even though at times she made it hard to like her. I also enjoyed the setting of the story and found myself daydreaming about what it would really be like to vacation at the Cummings’ family lodge. I really loved how Ms. Herman based the plot line around the character’s Christian beliefs rather than just dropping in a few scripture references and talks of God like I have seen in other Christian fiction. The references to Abby’s faith and such really caused me to re-examine my own faith and contemplate if my faith would be able to withstand the same storm. I appreciated that my walk with the Lord was strengthened by reading this book and it was not just a fun read. I also liked the discussion guide included at the end of the book, so it could be a fun book to do for a ladies group /book club at church.
My favorite line in the book:
“I think that means when we’re in the dark, we have to take a step forward and trust that there will be light on the path in front of us.”
In short, I was disappointed in the mystery aspect of the book as the synopsis on Amazon held such great promise, but my disappointed may have more to do with the limitations of Christian mystery rather than this author’s writing. I will continue to read this series because I am excited to reconnect with the characters and see what else Kathy Herman has for us and the Cummings family.
Overall I give this book three stars (***) as I would definitely recommend that you read it if you find it at the library or a rummage sale. I would even venture to say that you may even want to purchase it if your library doesn’t carry much Christian fiction. My library does not have much Christian fiction, so I purchased this book off Amazon for approximately $10.00, and I don’t have any regrets. *Please note that while I don’t regret purchasing it, I can’t honestly recommend it as DEFINATE purchase for everyone.*
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,