Monday, 30 January 2017

*** REVIEW *** THE LIGHT DUET by Aleatha Romig

An investigator's search for a friend draws her into a world darker than she could have imagined.

Sara Adams awakes blind, unable to remember the most basic details of her life, but her darkness seems a blessing when she discovers the terrors of The Light.
Stella Montgomery investigates the news on the mean streets of Detroit, where she’s noticed a disturbing trend: young women are vanishing. When her best friend disappears, Stella investigates—despite warnings from her police detective boyfriend—following a twisted trail that leads her through the city’s most dangerous and forsaken precincts. There she uncovers something more sinister than she could have imagined: a shadowy organization known as The Light, led by the enigmatic Father Gabriel.
As Sara struggles to understand her place in the strange world she’s awakened to—an oppressive cult demanding unquestioning obedience—and her feelings for Jacob, the husband she can’t recall and whose harsh and tender attentions confuse and beguile her, Stella risks all to discover the truth. But enlightenment always comes with a price...
Published through Thomas and Mercer AMAZON:

What can I say about Mrs. Romig's writing?  I am a huge fan of Aleatha Romig’s Consequences series. I like the twists and turns that she takes her readers through and the way she reveals Tony’s heart slowly through each book.  I delight in authors who make me yell at their characters because their story stirs up so many emotions.  Aleatha does that for me—she stirs me up.  
After all the kudos, I guess you wonder why it is taking me so long to get to reading The Light series.  I’m impatient.  I need to read the entire story.  I buy the books, but hold them in my “incomplete series” folder until I can read from start to finish. When I saw Aleatha at Shameless Book Con I remembered that I have these two books on my Kindle.  I can't believe I let a couple more months pass before I dove in Now It’s time! 

This review covers the complete duet Into The Light and Away From the Dark.

I adore books that make me shake with angst when I’m reading.  For me, there is nothing better than a good suspense book that glues my eyes to the pages and does not allow me to look away until I’m finished.  It is the knowing that there are going to be twists, the fear that the twist is heart-wrenching, and the shivers that run through my body that holds my attention from start to finish. 

Into the Light begins a chilling story that revolves around several characters, Sara, Jacob, and Stella.  Sara, a woman who awakes in a hospital bed after sustaining severe injuries in an accident, her husband Jacob, is kind and attentive, and the religious group/cult to which they belong.  Stella is an investigative reporter who is searching for clues to find her missing friend and stumbles on a mystery of unexplained deaths and missing people in the Detroit area.  

The complex yet plausible mystery at the heart of Into the Light centers around a cult.  In real life, I’m currently hooked on Leah Remini’s reality show about Scientology, and I can see how a strong, charismatic leader can control the actions of his/her followers.  I completely buy into the activities and philosophies of the group known as The Light.  Granted this book takes the punishment up a notch but cult members are known to do unusual things. 

The main characters, Sara, Jacob, and Stella, are incredible.  They all have characteristics that pull the reader into the story with the hope that they will find their happiness.  Sara can’t remember anything before her accident.  There is something otherworldly about her situation.  Her eyes are bandaged to protect them from additional damage.  Sara is in pain and regularly medicated that has her coming in and out of consciousness.  Her strength is Jacob.  He calms her in the amnesic state she can’t shake.  Why doesn’t she remember?

Jacob, Sara’s husband, is attentive and kind.  He won’t leave her bedside.  I adore seeing Jacob’s loving and protective side where Sara is concerned.  He tries to help her remember when she is conscious, but he gives her mismatched clues that often confuses her.  Jacob also gives her orders that make her question his dominating demeanor.  Sara doesn’t think she is as subservient a woman as the people around her make her believe.

The story is beautifully narrated by multiple voices, Sara and Jacob show us the life inside the group and Stella expands on the mystery of missing people and murders in the Detroit area that she stumbles upon while searching for her friend.

Sara’s first task after regaining consciousness is getting reacquainted with the tenants of her religion.  Making mistakes, especially in front of the elders, requires corporal punishment.  Their belief is mistakes are an affront to Father Gabriel, the religious leader. 

The punishments are especially problematic for Sara because it is her husband’s responsibility to administer the reprimands.  The council sets the consequences, and while she takes them, Sara doesn’t believe entirely that they have this power over her.  Jacob does love his wife and does whatever he can to make her see that even if it appears harsh sometimes the punishments are delivered with love.

Into the Light ends on a cliffhanger, but now that both books are available we can move right onto Away from the Dark without waiting.  Don’t you love when that happens?  I’m not going to share anymore because it will ruin the surprise for anyone, like me, who haven’t read these books yet. 


Nine months ago, Sara Adams awoke with no memory. The man holding her hand told her she’s a member of The Light, a tight-knit religious group led by the terrifying and charismatic Father Gabriel. As a woman in the community of The Light, her duty is to be unquestionably obedient and to submit to the will of her husband.

But as Sara’s memory starts to return and she remembers her past, she sees that everything she’s been told is a lie. The Light is an insidious and dangerous organization, and its corrupting influence reaches well beyond the confines of the remote campus where Sara is being held.

With everything at stake, Sara struggles to sort out her true memories from her indoctrination. The desire to escape consumes her, but who can she trust? And which other followers of The Light were forced into this life, brainwashed to believe they belonged? The more she remembers, the more it becomes clear that Jacob, the man who calls himself her husband, is keeping shattering secrets of his own.

But Sara cannot flee alone, leaving innocents behind. She must fight to extinguish The Light.

What is going to happen next?  Don’t read any further if you don’t like spoilers.  There isn’t any way to discuss Away from the Dark without mentioning the ending of the first book. 

Away From The Dark picks up where Into the Light ends.  Sara is getting her memory back.  She knows she wasn’t Jacob’s wife before the accident and her name isn’t Sara.  We also know that Jacob isn’t who we think he is.  Jacob is undercover FBI, and he loves Sara/Stella and has for a long time.

The suspense and excitement are still on every page in this book.  The anxiety is different because so much is on the line now--criminal activity, a relationship, and a future together.  The inner conflict that Jacob has whether to continue his operation or save Sara and ruin the years he put in to bring down The Light is very well written.  I can feel his pain sometimes.

Into the Night shows Sara/Stella’s strength but we see her fight hard in Away From the Dark.  I love her tenacious will and determination to find her friend.   Her loyalty to her friends, even her new found friends is incredible.  There isn’t anything I don’t like about this character.

Jacob is the perfect male, FBI/law enforcement character.  He is determined, sexy, and ready to take on the bad guys.  A lot is explained and the reader now understands some of his crazy acts.

The bad guys—I need to talk about them a little.  Father Gabriel is blinded by this religion he founded.  He is evil.  He is in it for the money and power.  Father Gabriel is portrayed realistically like many religious leaders who let their pulpit go to their head.  For me, as I mentioned earlier, it is very believable for members to infiltrate so many segments of society because they want to spread their religion.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this duet.  The only flaw for me is the ending, and it isn’t what you think.  Again, I don’t want to give it away.  I understand a little why the finale would work for a writer, but for me, as a reader, it is a little disappointing.  

Away From the Dark makes the reader fall totally in love with the characters.  The reader will cheer for Sara, Jacob, and their group of insiders as they help one another (not always knowingly) to justice.   I’m not sure there is really justice for all, so the ending has me with questions, and since this is a duet I don’t see another book in the works that will fill in my blanks.

Regardless, The Light series is a solid romantic thriller with a plausible premise.  It manages to surprise me a couple times.  It also makes me want to read faster to see what happens next.  The writing is well done.  There are satisfyingly evil undercurrents of darkness and depravity where a romance blossoms.  If that isn’t enough to make you want to experience this yourself, I don’t know what is.  A splendid read!
Overall for the duet 4.5 STARs

Aleatha Romig is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who lives in Indiana. She grew up in Mishawaka, graduated from Indiana University, and is currently living south of Indianapolis. Aleatha has raised three children with her high school sweetheart and husband or nearly thirty years. Before she became a full-time author, she worked days as a dental hygienist and spent her nights writing. Now, when she’s not imagining mind-blowing twists and turns, she likes to spend her time with her family and friends. Her other pastimes include reading and creating heroes/anti-heroes who haunt your dreams!