About the Book: (from the back of the book)
When your beliefs are at war, does love stand a chance?
Bookstore owner Meryn O’Reilly and Army Captain Jesse Christensen are on opposite sides of a battle. After a series of terrorist attacks in 2053, martial law has been declared in Canada and the military has taken over. When a radical Christian group claims responsibility, Jesse and his platoon are sent to Meryn’s city to keep an eye on the Christians and ensure they are not stepping outside the confines of the law.
Fiery and quick-tempered, Meryn chafes under the curfew and other restrictions to her freedom. Jesse is equally amused, intrigued, and terrified by her spirit. She could find herself in prison if she shows defiance to the wrong soldier, namely Lieutenant Gallagher.
Jesse watches out for Meryn when possible, although she wants nothing to do with him. His worst fears are realized when she commits a crime he cannot protect her from. Now they both face an uncertain future and the very real threat of losing everything, including their lives. With time running out, Jesse works feverishly to convince the authorities to show leniency to Meryn. And to convince her that love can overcome any barrier that lies between them.
The End Begins is first in Sara Davison’s The Seven Trilogy, and it’s one of those stories that doesn’t really fit neatly into any one category. It has elements of romance, suspense, and political thriller, but it also has significant speculative elements, and is set in a dystopian future (2053) Canada. The storyline raises some very interesting religious and ethical questions, and makes the reader pause to think about what could happen in real life, given certain political pressures and government responses.
On the romance front, there’s a fair amount of coincidence (or God’s nudges?) involved early on in repeated meetings, and at first I didn’t fully get why they were so drawn to each other, given how little they seemed to have in common. As the story progressed however, and Jesse and Meryn opened up to each other, the emotional aspects totally clicked and I felt the pull. You know that emotional connection to the characters that makes you need to finish the story and see how it ends? That’s how I felt about this one.
There is one place at the end of Chapter 29 where the hero does something in an emotional moment that I really wish the author had left out of the story. It does a great job showing his emotional reaction to what he’s going through, but I think it also weakens his character and makes him less of a hero, and I felt it wasn’t really necessary to the plot or his character development. So, yeah, I went on to enjoy the rest of the story by ripping that page out (okay, not literally; I am a librarian) and pretending it never happened.
On a side note, I loved Meryn’s book store and enjoyed the idea of a resurgence of print books due to continuing technological changes and challenges. Very clever.
Fans of Amanda G Stevens’ Haven Seekers series (see my review of Seek and Hide) will likely take a particular interest in this series. The two series feature similar political situations resulting in persecution of Christians, though the characters and direction each series takes differ.
This book includes some really thought-provoking discussion questions in the back, and I think its content would lend itself to a fabulous book group discussion.
I received a free copy of this book, without any expectation that I would write a review. However, since I make a habit of blogging reviews, I decided to write one anyway.