REVIEW: Dangerous Allies by Renee RyanTuesday, October 5, 2010 1:00
Nothing frosts my cupcakes more than the fact that “unusual” settings and time periods are welcome in the inspirational market, and we heathen readers get offered Regency Historical #6923 featuring Duke #10,256. For that reason, I’ve started dipping my toes in the inspirational sub genre and I’ve discovered some pretty good reads. However, this latest from Ryan was a bit of a mixed bag.
Jack Anderson is an American working with MI6 and is currently undercover in Nazi Germany posing as an SS officer. His latest mission is to secure some blueprints for a top secret weapon, and he needs to make contact with Russian-born actress, Katarina Kerensky.
Katia is working as a spy for the British in the hopes of protecting the only family she has left – her mother. Thanks to her acting skills, she’s pretty good at her job – playing the bubble-headed, vacuous actress role to the hilt. But now she’s paired up with Jack Anderson, a man she’s not entirely sure she can trust. The British need those blueprints, Katia needs to ensure her mother’s safety, and Jack is a man who lies for a living. It’s a sticky web indeed.
The history aspect and the plot of this story are really fantastic. It was so refreshing to read a WWII based story, dealing with two people determined to help thwart the Nazis. Talk about compelling villains! I really got a great sense of place, and the struggles experienced by both lead characters made for great fiction.
However, what didn’t work nearly as well were the inspirational aspects of the story. I thought the reasons behind both characters’ crisis of faith were extremely believable. Katia lost her father when he was murdered during the Russian Revolution, and both question the existence of a God who “allows” the Nazis to rise to power. So, I got that. What I didn’t get was that there were moments in the narrative when the “God stuff” was shoehorned into the story like a quota had to be met. Sometimes these faith-based moments were organic to the story and “fit.” Other times they were jarring and felt out-of-place.
I also wasn’t wild with the fact that Jack seems to turn around awfully quick from his crisis. One moment he’s angry with God, shaken in his belief, and then the next minute, whamo! He’s back to believing that God has a plan. Hey, Katia is a lovely girl with many admirable qualities – but I needed more than just her existence to be the reason for Jack to find his way back to God. Just saying.
If you’re a diehard inspirational fan, these issues might not bother you. If you’re a reader who has turned to inspirationals, not so much for the “message,” but for the different settings and “cleaner” reads? It’s something to take under advisement. Inspirational elements are like anything else in fiction. If it’s not organic to the story, it’s going to lack flow and feel jarring to the reader. At least it did to this reader.
In Nazi Germany, British agent Jack Anderson risks his life working undercover as an SS officer. And his latest mission—to uncover intelligence about a secret Nazi weapon—is his most perilous yet. Especially since he’ll have to work with Katarina Kerensky. The famous actress is too dangerous to trust—and too beautiful to ignore.
Desperate to save her mother from the Gestapo, Katia reluctantly agrees to work with the coolly handsome Jack. But can she trust a man whose sense of honor is tangled in a web of lies? In a race against time, Jack and Katia forge an alliance to take down the enemy…and learn whether love can survive in a world gone wrong.