Book Review: Identity by Betsy Love

Book:  Identity
Author:  Betsy Love
Pages:  304
Format: Paperback, Kindle/ebook
Publisher:  Walnut Springs Press (July 2011)
Book Source:  Independent Purchase
Category:  Suspense/Romance
Style:  Character-driven with some action

They say everyone has a doppleganger, even in LDS fiction.  Savannah is a middle-class Mormon girl at a turning point in her life.  Amelia is a spoiled cosmopolitan heiress on vacation.  Everyone loves Savannah.  Amelia not so much.  Their looks are similar enough that they are mistaken for one another when both are wearing sunglasses.  They sit down next to each other on a flight from Mexico to Arizona.  Mayhem ensues.

Typical topics for LDS books, with the Gospel being shared, lives changed, hearts are won, etc., etc., Identity differs with its plot of murder, intrigue, industrial espionage, blended family politics, alcohol dependency and surprise developments.  The blood and guts seem an odd juxtaposition to father's blessings and scripture study, but, it actually works.

The first published work of Ms. Love, it is ambitious.  While not ready to face off with Tom Clancy or Dan Brown, she manages to pull it off with few contradictions and plausibility issues.  I had a few problems with it, not the least of which was the bad .mobi formatting of the Kindle version and lack of a table of contents, but such difficulties could be eliminated with a new edition.

Other problems in the plot don't resolve quite so easily and are difficult to overlook, police and judicial procedure being the big issue.  Unfortunately, the suspense plot rests squarely upon a premise stemming from the investigatory processes.  They could be a deal breaker for the book, unless one is filled with good Christian charity and decides to enjoy the story for its own sake.  [engage willing suspension of disbelief here]

Many of the characters are richly drawn, and the action feels well-considered.  The interpersonal relationships seem plausible for the most part.  Others are hinted at, alluded to, but ultimately neglected.  I found myself wanting to learn more about Amelia's daunting step-father, the tangle of relationships between her company and that of her fiancee, and the how and why she resented the pair to such an extent that she would ditch Brent in Mexico.  Fleshing out these details would have lengthened the book, but I believe would have enriched it and made the end even more satisfying.

All that being said, the acid test with a book for me is how much sleep I lose over it.  I stayed up until 4am to finish this one.  If you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you will understand the references in this book.  If not, it will give you a fairly accurate (discounting the skullduggery) glimpse into the "Mormon" culture.  Either way, Identity is an entertaining read.

Bottom line: a good first attempt at a suspense/thriller from an author with great ideas and a sound foundation of Gospel principles.  Portents of good things to come from Ms. Love.





FTC Disclaimer: This book was independently purchased. I received no compensation from the author or their agent for this content.

2 comments:

Betsy Love said...

Thank you for your kind review. There are things I would love to have explored further when I wrote the book. Also at the rate of cell phone technology, there are other things I would have changed. Again, thank you for reviewing my book.

Penny Freeman said...

It was my pleasure. I can't wait to get my hands on your next book!