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Death be Not Proud (The Secret of the Journal) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
I quite enjoyed this second installment in "The Secret of the Journal" series from author C. F. Dunn. The historical detail woven into the story was fascinating to read about, and I thought the author did an excellent job at revealing the truth about Matthew in a riveting manner that kept me glued to the pages. I began to imagine what it would be like to have someone like Matthew exist in real life, and the complications that would come along with being who he is (I don't want to say more for fear of ruining the plot for you!). The characters are wonderfully developed and very intriguing in their complexity. I do have to admit that the last quarter of the story slowed down in pace for me, and I thought that an attack that Emma suffered seemed somewhat tacked on to the story rather than developing as part of the main story arc, and it didn't seem overly believable to me that such a thing would occur and then get dealt with in the way that it did.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Death Be Not Proud is the second, in what will be a trilogy by C.F. Dunn. I have not read Mortal Fire. I think you can make it through book #2 without having read book #1, but it won't be easy. There are several pieces missing, which I can only assume Mortal Fire provides. Death Be Not Proud doesn't build up the characters enough for them to be able to stand alone. If you've read book #1, you'll get along just fine with this. If not, like me, you'll need to just figure it out.
One of my questions for readers of romance literature is this: do women in the real world act like Emma? Do they really make the most inane decisions about men, whether it's men they might be 'in love' with or men whom they know are dangerous, harmful or even life-threatening? I finally had to put the book away about 2/3 of the way through. I just couldn't stand it anymore. Granted, Emma's a full-grown woman, but if my daughter's acted like this, I might have to do some serious fatherly counseling.
As to the issue of Matthew's 'immortality', because I've read science fiction and fantasy literature for many years, I didn't struggle too much with this concept. However (you knew there was going to be one of those, didn't you?), it never appears, as brilliant as Matthew is, that he has done much exploring to discover what has gone on to make him over 400 years old. He has children, who seeming to have many of his traits of immortality, will not live as long because of the mixed blood of a mother. Not anywhere near enough is said about this (unless this is fodder for book #3).
One last 'beef', and it's not about Death Be Not Proud alone. A book does not have to be written by a Christian author to be good or have redemptive value to it. A piece of literature written by a Christian does not have to be explicitly Christian (a clear gospel proclaimed, faith in Jesus Christ alone made a central tenet of the work rather than just some odd, generic 'faith in God' or just 'faith in a deity', struggles by main characters to live out said faith and the list could go on). I just get miffed at publishers (I'm assuming it's them, not the authors so much) who want to promote 'Christian romance novels' (Amish, western, sci-fi, fantasy, Victorian) with no clear Christianity in them. Just put it out there as a 'romance novel.'
I found no clear gospel within the pages of Death Be Not Proud. That doesn't make it an evil book; just no different than a worldly book. I didn't keep a tally, but I'm not sure if Jesus Christ was ever mentioned, let alone one's great need to repent of their sins and follow Him for the rest of their lives. Even the generic 'I have faith in a god above' was barely noticeable. Again, if this was the author's intent, fine. I'm okay with that. Kregel Publications, however, needs to not list this as 'Christian romance' simply because it may have a believing author.
I'm not really sure what to do with Death Be Not Proud and any sort of recommendation. You may attempt to do so if you wish. If you've read Mortal Fire. and are already caught up in the story, then by all means do so. If not, well, go read The Count of Monte Cristo or something similar.
One thing I absolutely love about this author is that she knows how to write. Writing abilities aside, this second installment of this series is much less suspenseful than the first and a bit more tame in the storyline. The storyline seems to take us away from the secrets of a generational family research attempt to a new research project involving her new love, Matthew. This left me with questions still unanswered and a list of all new ones. The connection and bond between Emma and Matthew get stronger along with moral and personal challenges and obligations that are keeping them apart.
There is a paranormal twist that becomes more prevalent in this book (however it was alluded to in the first book). I will say that this storyline does not fit the typical paranormal storyline and it is definitely NOT a typical "Paranormal Romance" book. The main character, Emma, is a very moral person and the situations she encounters make her faith not so black and white. Matthew also appears to be very devout and they both have made choices which cause them guilt- and possibly more.
The ending leaves you with a bit of a cliff hanger and leaves clues as to what we may expect in book three. I do hope that the third book contains the answers to all the tidbits brought up in both book one and two and has a bit more suspense and intrigue!
Overall I'd recommend this book (and the first one, Mortal Fire) to adults who like history, intrigue, and clean romance with a twist! (3 1/2 stars)
I received this book via LibraryThing.com Early Reviewer giveaway.
Granted, this is Book Two in a trilogy, and I haven't read Book One. That might be part of the problem as I didn't seen how the character of Matthew developed, and why Emma is so enthralled with him. My negative feelings about the story are really all about Matthew. The author paints him as the perfect guy... in some ways. He's handsome, charming, intelligent, cares deeply about his family ... but frankly, I have a problem with how controlling and borderline abusive he is. Now this might be the author's intention. Maybe I'll read Book Three and realize she was painting him in this light from the beginning, but I'm not sure if that's the author's intention or not. But for crying out loud, the guy actually bruised Emma when he kissed her (in Book One) and gets so mad that he threatens how he could rape and kill her if he really wanted to in this story. He feels horrible about it later, but this should send up red flags to any sensible girl. Emma comes across sensible in some ways, but acts like a complete idiot at times! I would think the absolute first thing she'd ask Matthew once she finds out he's really four-hundred-years-old is HOW? Yet we wait many chapters before she addresses it because Matthew puts her off saying it must wait until he takes her away from her family to his personal home in America. He arranges this without even asking her if she wants to go. (Another red flag... taking the girl away from her family.)
I really wanted to like this book. And in some ways I did. C.F. Dunn is a skilled writer. I just hope Matthew ends up being a bad guy in the end. We'll see.
This novel is being marketed as inspirational/Christian fiction, but be warned it does have more language than most CF (hell, damn, bastard, bitch) and the Lord's name is taken in vain by a character (though it is pointed out as being wrong). Maybe that's the way British CF is written, I don't know. Little as far as Christian content is included, though Emma does keep herself pure because of her beliefs, and this is brought up as the characters are strongly attracted to each other several times.
I'd still recommend to fans of Twilight-type novels with the warning to remember that if a guy in real life acts like Matthew, run away with everything you've got! Luckily, this is fiction. (I mean, there really aren't four-hundred-year-old guys walking around... right?) ;)
From the back cover: Following the vicious attack by a psychotic colleague, and reeling from the suspicion that Matthew Lynes is not all that he seems, Professor Emma D'Eresby flees her college teaching position in Maine to her hometown in England- taking the mysterious seventeenth-century journal she stole from the college's archives with her.
Broken physically and emotionally, Emma drifts until, fearing for their daughter's sanity, her parents invite a family friend to assess her. In the course of their conversation, Emma discovers that he spoke to Matthew over thirty years before.
This finally spurs her into action and soon, when she finds what certainly must be a reference to Matthew in the journal, she begins to understand Matthew's profound secret.
But when Matthew arrives to confess his love for her, she must decide if she can trust him-and he must decide if he can share his extraordinary secret with her. Drawn by a deep connection that both feel but don't quite understand they find they must set aside their doubts and trust each other.
Readers will be thrilled by the second installment in The Secret of the Journal from British author C. F. Dunn. Mixing suspense, romance, and the supernatural, Death Be Not Proud explores the profound moral implications of a life seemingly invulnerable to time.
The adventure and suspense continue as Emma returns home to her parents in England to rest and recuperate from the events of book one. She also wants to get away from Matthew, read the journal and sort things out. Obviously that was not going to happen as Matthew appears on her doorstep and offers to take her back to America. Through bits we learn from the doctor in England, the journal and from Matthew himself we find all is not what it seems. And even though Emma has feelings for him I have to say I, personally, do not trust this guy. "Death Be Not Proud" is also a mystery filled with twists and turns that will make a roller coaster kneel in surrender. I think C. F. Dunn is an extremely talented writer who really knows how to tell a story that will grab you and keep you flipping pages until you find out what is going on. "Death Be Not Proud" is a very exciting book that will keep you engrossed in the characters. I am looking forward to all being revealed in the next book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Monarch Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Emma D'Eresby has returned to England with her parents following the vicious attack by a colleague. But that's not really causing Emma's slide into depression. The severing of her relationship with the very mysterious Dr. Matthew Lynes has left her confused, guilty and desperate. Her parents, while well-meaning, do not have a clue as to how to help her. It is her determination to find the truth surrounding the Lynes family that leads Emma to healing and a point of no return.
Mortal Fire ended with lots of questions, and while Death Be Not Proud went a long way in answering them, it became a typical second book in a series. A bridge of sorts, it filled in background, but not a lot of action or furthering of the story took place. I found myself skimming to get on with the story. It wasn't until the reappearance of Matthew that my interest was piqued. A lot of time was spent developing Emma's family relationships and did help explain her character, but I really wanted to get on with the story.
Now that the negatives are out of the way, let me tell you why I like this series. It is a supernatural story that is not filled with vampires, demons or zombies! Matthew's otherworldly abilities have a beginning much more mysterious. I am hoping that book 3 will examine the source of this mystery. The book combines history with a present day mystery -- something I love. And Emma, although a Christian, struggles with matters of faith and trust. The faith message is subtle, not preachy. The novel is also not predictable. The characters often act and react in ways I did not expect.
So if you like a supernatural, historical, romantic mystery that combines all of these elements well and you don't mind starting at the beginning, and being patient with a story, then pick up Mortal Fire and Death Be Not Proud. Hopefully, book 3 will be on its way in short order!
Recommended, but read book 1 first.
(Thanks to Kregel for a copy of this book. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)
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