Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: To Chase a Dark Shadow

A Fair Trade Book

Title: To Chase a Dark Shadow

Author: Carole Gift Page

Date: 1985

Publisher: Accent

ISBN: 0-89636-161-6

Length: 195 pages

Quote: “Why couldn’t she put her child out of her mind as she had intended six years ago at his birth?”

Victoria is a thoroughly modern yuppie-type Christian of the 1980s. If she used birth control devices that are only 98% effective, and one of those times happened to be the one time in fifty when the product was guaranteed to fail her, she could just put the child up for adoption and get on with her life…couldn’t she?

Well, no. Victoria’s life, such as it’s been, has been a student’s life shared with her mother. When her mother dies, the university becomes a barren place, her thesis almost boring, and she finds herself spending a lot of time at her mother’s grave…where she soon notices a young man visiting his wife’s grave. By the time he tells her he’s a private investigator who helps people find missing family members, she’s starting to think a lot about the son she never knew. She’s also warning herself that the young man still seems to be attached to his lost wife. Little does she know that, according to the mysterious workings of Providence and novel writers, she’s being called to rescue her son from mortal danger.

Her son lost his adoptive parents in a car accident. He was injured. He has post-traumatic seizures. Medication can help reduce the severity, but only time cures post-traumatic seizures. But in the 1980s there were Americans who believed that post-traumatic seizures had something to do with demon possession. Had the patient sinned? Had the patient been “conceived in sin”? You see! Proof! Demons begone! And if one or two prayer sessions didn’t banish the demons, it was the patient’s fault! It had to be, because otherwise it’d be the fault of the Christians who’d tried to cast out the demons! (A student, not at my church college but at a different denominational school nearby, used to have post-traumatic seizures; I'm sorry to admit that one of the teachers tried to exorcise him, too, and blamed him when he continued to have "demon headaches.")

Victoria will learn about seizures, and about local laws and other things, as the plot heats up. Eventually, after she’s made full use of his professional services and would have no further use for him if she really weren’t hoping he’d make a move, Phillip the private investigator will admit to a more personal interest in Victoria, who of course returns his interest…it’s just that women who were students in 1985 had been taught that our role in the dance of romance was to respond to the male’s pursuit.

To Chase a Dark Shadow is a nice, plausible piece of chick lit about a nice, plausible young woman. The way Victoria prays is not necessarily the way every reader has been taught to pray. I for one am willing to accept that she does pray, after whatever fashion she’s been taught; characters who pray are nicer than characters who wail, have hysterics, or pop pills.

Carole Gift Page is apparently still alive and writing, so this is a Fair Trade Book. Buy it here, for $5 per copy + $5 per package, and we'll send $1 to Page or a charity of her choice.