Twisted Roots: A Light into the Darkness by Shelly Goodman Wright
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Paranormal, Suspense, YA
Length: Full Length (328 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia
Jessica’s sole priority for the past thirteen years has been to keep her father alive in the hope he will wake up from his coma and save her. Threatening to cut off his lifeline at any sign of independence, her mother has controlled her life, even to the point of an arranged engagement to Seth, whom Jessica fears even more than her mother. When Jessica accepts this most outrageous demand yet she then discovers her father has “passed away” anyway, she knows she has to escape.
She runs until she is lost and bewildered in a Georgia swamp, where she discovers the existence of the wonderful place her father hinted at to her when she was only a child. In this magical, unreal world, just as she begins to discover the truth about her twisted family roots, three young men set their eyes on Jessica.
One will win her heart, one will try to steal it, and one will try to kill her.
Now that Jessica finally has the power to determine her own path, will she make the right choice?
There are no words to describe Jessica’s situation. Her life is beyond tragic. With her mother, Evelyn, constantly dangling the life of her father over her head, Jessica is forced to submit to outrageous demands, including an engagement to Seth, a man who just might be more nefarious than her mother. After her father’s death, Jessica runs away at the first opportunity. What Jessica finds beyond the walls of her home will challenge everything she’s ever known.
Jessica is a very strong heroine. Despite her rather twisted and sheltered upbringing, Jessica has grown into a fine young woman. I admire her bravery and the strength it took for her to go into the world alone with absolutely no one she could trust. Once Jessica finds her way into the swamp, she comes across a group of people who show her the true meaning of trust and unconditional love. It was a pleasure to watch Jessica gradually let down her guard and open herself up to others.
I also enjoyed watching Jessica come to know Christ through reading the Bible and the gentle guidance of Hunter and Ms. Mabel. As Jessica steps on the path to Christianity, Hunter and Ms. Mable encourage her to ask as many questions as she wants. I liked that they never forced her into anything. When Jessica comes to a pivotal moment in her faith, Hunter and Ms. Mabel are there to support her, but Jessica remains in control of her life. I have no doubt that Jessica will grow into a very courageous woman.
Hunter is exactly the kind of man that Jessica needs. He lends her strength and support when she needs it, but also gives her the tools to stand on her own. Their romance is very touching and moves at just the right pace. I look forward to watching their love continue to bloom in the next book.
I must admit I had a hard time understanding the motives of Evelyn, Jessica’s mother. She doesn’t appear to have any redeeming characteristics. Consequently, she didn’t strike me as a very realistic character. Evelyn’s past is murky, and I’d definitely like to know a bit more about what would drive a woman to treat her only child the way she treats Jessica. Perhaps I will learn more about her in future installments of the series?
Seth is an interesting villain. While Seth is definitely evil, I do believe he has something that resembles feelings for Jessica, no matter how misguided or warped they are. He seems to have been shaped into the evil man that he’s become through some poor choices on his part as well as through the influence of Jessica’s mother. I can’t help but wonder if Seth’s life would have been different if Evelyn hadn’t gotten her claws into him.
Ms. Wright has crafted a wonderful story of love and faith in Twisted Roots. I enjoyed every minute spent reading it and am definitely looking forward to learning more about Jessica in the next book. I recommend Twisted Roots to anyone looking for a different kind of paranormal tale.