You're married to a successful dentist...or so people think. You're happy...or so people think. For years, you've struggle, not just to love your husband...but to like him. You've battled to make a home for oozing testosterone sons.
One phone call, one accident, changes everything...or so you think.
After agonizing waits in hospital halls, prayers reduced to moans and groans, God introduces you to...a familiar stranger.
In her debut novel, Christina Berry offers intrigue, romance, and a chance to examine both familiar and unfamiliar relationships in the American dream family, a successful dentist, his wife, and two boys. Christina edges to the precipice of originality and leaps into a world of unique plot twists and transformed characters.
I can't wait to read more from this fresh new voice in Christian fiction! Put The Familiar Stranger on your to-read and must-discuss lists!
The Familiar Stranger is a provocative and honest look at the widespread devastation caused by one mans betrayal.Told from the point of view of a once selfish and then confused husband, and a devoted, yet frustrated wife, this novel explores the struggles of keeping a family together during the aftermath of sudden tragedy.The characters are vivid, and the surprise twist at the end will stay with the reader long past the last page. A wonderful and richly rewarding first novel!
I loved this book -- it was a mystery that I couldn't put down until the end because you really couldn't guess the ending like you can in a lot of books! I am looking forward to more books by Christina Berry!
"Warm, pollinated air whispered over me. The hospital's circulation filters removed all the germs and odors from the indoor air, but they also stripped it of its personality." writes Christine Berry in The Familiar StrangerFrom the first chapter, and even the first paragraph, I knew this was a good book. It reminded me of NCIS (probably my favorite TV show). The characters have personality. As the reader, you see their flaws, but they're part of who they are and you want to know their story.I realize more and more what a skill writing a good story is---to convey important details about a conversation and not make it feel too slow or too fast, but very real and believable. That was what pleased and surprised me about Ms. Berry's writing. It didn't feel stilted or ingenuous.I wanted to read this book because the premise sounded intriguing and different. And it proved to be so! I don't want to give anything away about this book. From the back of the book, you know that the story is about a man who was planning to leave his wife (though she doesn't know) when he has an accident and wakes up with amnesia. I thought I knew how it would end at the beginning and it did turn out that I was right, but it felt like a long shot and there was enough doubt in my mind to make the journey from the beginning to the end very interesting.Honestly, this is the best fiction book I've read in a long time. Please check it out if you're looking for a good read!Please note that I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review by Moody Publishing.
I have heard good things about this book, but I have to admit I was still a little skeptical because it looks pretty woman's fiction to me... you know, all relationships, my life isn't perfect, my husbands a jerk, blah, blah, blah. But I really wanted to give it a try because I met Christina in September at ACFW and I was so impressed with her as a person that I had to see if she could write. Okay people, it is official. This girl can write!She blew my mind with this book. I expected it to take me awhile to read, nope, couldn't put it down and finished it in 24 hours. I figured I'd see everything coming, nope, twists and turns down to the very end. I thought I'd be bored with all the woman's issues, nope, it was actually almost more mystery then woman's fiction. I just knew that I'd add it to my pile of one time read woman's fiction books, nope, this book might make it to my keeper shelf.If you are looking for fresh and different, pick up The Familiar Stranger and see if it doesn't blow your mind a little too!
Familiar Stranger by Christina Berry is an emotional rollercoaster novel filled with suspense. Denise Littleton has been feeling the cracks in her marriage for the last several years. Her husband, Craig, treats her with disdain, turning away her attempts at affection and belittling her every move. When he's in a car accident that wipes his memory, it at first seems to be a blessing. The familiar strangers fall in love; he pays attention to their sons, and they are finally finding the life Denise has always wanted. Until Craig's secrets start coming out, shattering their calm and exposing his lies. Berry mines every bit of emotion by alternating narration between Craig and Denise to show their growing feelings and confusion. Astute readers will figure out what's going on, but the superb writing keeps them guessing about particulars. Two small areas of concern: Denise runs hot and cold with the turn of a page with no explanation, and a vital piece of information is casually tossed out near the beginning of the book, but when all of the secrets are exposed, it isn't referenced, making the ending a bit less satisfying. Those issues won't stop readers from devouring this enthralling story.
The Familiar Stranger was a real page turner. It was written so well that it wasn't until I was three quarters of the way through the story that I realized the point of view for each person (titled his and hers respectively in the novel) was written in the first person past tense. This was very well done and flawlessly executed, IMHO. The Familiar Stranger is also the perfect title for this incredible tale. It was an intriguing and a profoundly mysterious story that kept me guessing until nearly the end. At first I was thinking something was occurring like what happened Rekindled by Tamera Alexander. Then I thought it could be like The Man in the Iron Mask starring Leonardo Dicaprio. Then I thought of the movie Summersby starring Jodie Foster. Long story short, this delightfully romantic and emotional tale was one of the most amazing debuts I've read in a long time. It was well thought out, excellently plotted, and the characterization was so believable that it left me breathless. Yeah, I even got choked up several times, especially toward the end. I found the resolution in The Familiar Stranger more satisfying and believeable than if the story had been taken a different direction. The unique spiritual perspective was also truly inspirational, which is why this book is making my best fiction for 2009 list. I highly recommend it.
"Im so thankful I received this book as a gift. Christina grabbed my attention on the very first page. I read this book in one day! I was drawn into the characters and their situation hook, line and sinker. Christina Berry starts out the first chapter in the point of view of Craig Littleton, Denises husband. In the next chapter, Christina describes the very same scene from Denises point of view. This added such richness to the story, knowing each person feelings, what they were really communicating when they talked to one other, and how each viewed their marriage situation. I love it. It brought depth to this heart felt, touching story, where I sympathized with the characters and the dilemmas they faced. After a serious accident, Denise discovers unbelievable things about her husband. Can all these things be true? Married twenty years, how could she not have known any of this? God was asking the impossible from Denise. Her Pastor asked her these three questions. 1. Are you angry? 2. Do you love him? 3. The hardest. Are you going to forgive him?" Denise responds, "Forgive him again, you mean. How can I? I was fascinated and intrigued by this unforgettable story of deceit, betrayal, forgiveness and true love. I couldnt put it down. I cant believe this is Christina Berrys first novel. She's an author to watch; I cant wait to see what she writes about next. Youll be wondering too. Nora St.Laurent Finding Hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com
This book grabs you from the first page! The voice shifting between Craig and Denise brings a unique and surprisingly refreshing perspective. Christina has excellent insight on both sides of an issue, the woman's and the man's. Between some fantastic lines that are still imprinted in my mind and the unpredictable twists throughout, this is a great read. Both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you're wondering what book to order, this one's a sure bet- I highly recommend it!
What an amazing debut novel for Christina Berry! In a word captivating! From the beginning I was drawn into the intrigue of where this story was going. Christina exhibits skill in showing the point of view of both Craig and Denise whose marriage has grown stale and troubled. Then Craig is critically injured and a mysterious man is killed. Its a love story, one of astonishing grace by a wife who stands by her husband even when faced with jarring evidence that hes not the man she thought he was. Its also a mystery that unfolds one layer at a time into a resonant and satisfying resolution. I really liked this story because of its unique approach and writing that wasnt overdone or clichd. Christinas straightforward storytelling pulled me in and kept me turning the pages. My husband echoed my sentiments after reading the book. Highly recommended for both male and female readers.
Denise Littleton is struggling to hold her marriage together, and doesnt realize that her husband Craig has some dark secrets and sinister plans. She is wavering between suspicion and desperate hope when she gets a phone call at church that changes her life. She rushes to care for her injured husband but constant mysteries and revelations make new suspicions arise including whether his amnesia is real or a convenient alibi. But this is not just Denises story. I particularly enjoyed the male and female perspectives through the dual first-person storylines. As the invalid recovers, choices of trust and forgiveness are faced. Just as in the real-life events upon which Ms. Berry based her story, the shocking events and choices ripple out to affect family and community members as well as the Littleton marriage. A haunting well-written drama with excellent takeaway for troubled relationships.
Love Betrayal Forgiveness Restoration.When Craig Littleton leaves his home, he plans to never return, to abandon his wife and sons in pursuit of freedom. And his detailed plans are foolproof.But, as he literally drives on the road toward liberty, hes involved in a severe accident. He lives, but all his memories are gone.His wife, Denise, unaware of his plans to desert the family, nurses him back to health, and he learns to love her again.But then, his memories come tumbling back Will he be able to restore all the lives he broke before the accident?***In the tradition of Francine Rivers, debut author, Christina Berry, delivers an impactful story of love, betrayal, forgiveness, & new beginnings. Her unique method of telling the story from both Denises and Craigs point-of-view adds dimension to the characters, & depth to the emotions. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
2009 has been a year of some wonderful debut novels, and Christina Berry has penned one of the best. A work of womens fiction, The Familiar Strangers complex plot is filled with the twists and red herrings of an Agatha Christie mystery. The answer came so far out of left field, Agatha wouldnt have predicted it. Engaging characters, cunning, and quicksilver emotions add up to a story that held me hostage, spellbound to the end. Novel Journey/Reviews and I give it our highest recommendation.
"The Familiar Stranger" is a contemporary Christian fiction novel. I'm sure many people would thoroughly enjoy the novel.The characters were sympathetic enough characters, but the only ones I really bonded with were the kids. This may partly be because I've never seriously dated or been married or had a loved one in a bad accident so I couldn't personally relate to the stress the adults were going through.The world-building was okay, and the pacing was very good. In the first half of the novel, a noticeable about of dialogue (including inner dialogue) felt unnatural to me--and I'm not talking about when awkward dialogue might be expected. In the second half, though, this problem disappeared and the writing was excellent.The reason I didn't fully enjoy this novel is that there were two serious logic problems, one behind the events that led to the accident and one behind the subsequent confusion. Without these events, the story falls apart and would never happen. That kind of ruined it for me.The characters were Christians living out their faith. The novel wasn't preachy, but there was a large amount of God-talk and praying. Non-Christians probably wouldn't enjoy this book. There was no sex and no bad language. If you overlook the logic problems, it's a good, enjoyable book. Overall, I'd rate it as good, clean reading.
I read this book straight through. A great debut novel, I'm looking forward to her next. Denise knows her marriage has gone cold, but when she receives a call that her husband has been in an accident, everything turns topsy-turvy. As if broken limbs, road burns, and skin grafts aren't enough, when he comes out of his coma, he doesn't remember anything, not her, not their sons, nothing. Even as she and Craig begin to establish a new relationship, secrets from his past crop up. And just when she thinks that she's forgiven him everything, and they are starting to establish a new and better love for each other, she finds out more. I loved this book, especially when she had come to a standstill in the forgiving department and the pastor says, "Right now you're acting like the judge, stamping GUILTY on each page of Craig's life. Maybe it's time you change your stamp." You'll love the surprise ending. Totally satisfying.
WOW!! Craig is not the man Denise married; he works long hours, hes often away on business trips and theyre not as close as they were when they married twenty years ago. Their marriage has lost its glitter and Denise wonders if his distant behavior is her fault. Craig skips church one morning saying he needs a break and is going hiking. Instead, he puts into motion his intricate plan to end their marriage. This book takes off on page one and doesn't stop until it's finished. Throughout the book Ms. Berry tells this story from the perspectives of both Craig and Denise. She presents this format of Hers and His with perfection and immerses the reader into the story until you just have to turn the pages! Berry introduces well-developed and memorable characters and a strong, swift plot. This debut novel from her whets my appetite for her next book. A good read!
Wow! I kept saying that over and over as I read this book. I just couldnt believe the next surprise~ the next twist Christina Berry amazed me with the not only the revelations her characters dealt with, and their responses to it but how believable it all was. I was reading this incredible story and the people in it seemed as flesh and bone as my own sons and husband in the next room. Denise is not perfect, but she is the kind of woman you want to be. She is brave, forgiving, loves God and her family. Her sons reminded me so much of my own including their near opposite personalities. I was heartbroken at the hurt and inspired by the healing that happened in the book.If I had a negative it would only be that the end came too swiftly and I would have loved for that storyline to continue.
The Familiar Stranger" is a great ride. From the opening page to the very last I had to know more. Christina Berry's original voice and her ability to raise uncertainty drives the reader forward to a surprising ending. A wonderful first book!
An accident, leaves one man horribly injured, and in a drug induced coma, and another man dead. Denise rushes to the hospital to be with her husband, Dr. Craig Littleton. He was injured when a car hit his parked car beside the freeway. But who was the man who died? And why was he with Craig? And why was Craig parked alongside the freeway? Why was he arguing with the strange man, as passing motorists noticed? What was going on?These questions plague Denise, but the police clear up the mystery, sort of, it seems. They discover the dead man was William Rodain, a patient of her husbands. But why he was with Craig, was still a mystery.Denise stands beside Craig, amazed at how different his personality is, as he is slowly recovering. He has trauma induced amnesia, and doesn't remember her or their sons. Hopeful that his homecoming will jog his memory, they all look forward to him coming home and getting well. Follow this fascinating, fast paced story from beginning to end. See Denise fall in love with her husband all over again. Discover her kindness and developing friendship with the daughter of the man who died in the accident. See the boys grow into a loving and better relationship with their dad. Discover secrets, that hurt and should never had to be revealed. Learn about the infidelities that Craig indulged in before the accident. See forgiveness at its most merciful. A wonderfully written book, this debut novel from Christina Berry will most definitely be a book to share with friends and family. Discussion questions for book groups and clubs included. 334 pages