Review: Broken Faith by Lois Cloarec Hart [review by Lori L. Lake]

Broken Faith
Lois Cloarec Hart
Renaissance Alliance Publishing, www.rapbooks.biz [reissued by Ylva Publishing]
PMB 238, 8691-9th Ave, Port Arthur, TX. 77642
June 2002, $22.99, 437 pps, ISBN: 1930928408, www.georgiabeers.com
In a spin-off book from her debut novel, Coming Home, this author pens the story of Marika Havers, a cynical immigration attorney living in Calgary, Canada. Marika is in a world of hurt. No relationship has ever lasted—except for an occasional loveless liaison with a woman named Cass, who uses Marika cruelly.
Rhiannon “Rhi” Davies lives a hardscrabble existence in a shabby part of town. She rents a room from her mean-spirited aunt who took Rhi in at age ten when the girl’s parents died. For years, Rhi has dreamed of escape from the critical, loveless aunt. Since getting a paralegal certificate, she’s saved every penny she can, planning and scheming to get out of her situation. Rhi enters Marika’s work life by taking a temporary paralegal job when the regular employee goes on maternity leave. Marika and Rhi have almost nothing in common—except for their lack of faith in themselves or that they are worthy of love.
When Rhi is attacked and badly injured by a crazed man in the office, Marika is shocked into compassion. She takes Rhi into her home and cares for the convalescing young woman, and against all odds, the two women are drawn to one another.
This might be a typical romance except for two things. First of all, the writing is exquisite. Every scene, every character, every detail is described with loving care. The secondary characters, especially the kindly priest, the mean aunt, and several helpful friends, are well-drawn. Secondly, the story doesn’t end with the two women gaining rapport and falling in love. Instead, Marika’s past comes back to haunt them, dragging them into danger and near death. The story ends up being more than a typical romance and is, in fact, a cross-genre thriller.
Told with a deft touch by a talented writer, Broken Faith is an exhilarating story that gains power the further the reader gets into it. There are so many twists and turns along the way, most of them unexpected, and the suspense grows gradually as the reader becomes aware of the breadth of the plot. Simply put, this is a terrific book, and I recommend it highly.
Lori L. Lake has been an author, editor, teacher, retreat leader, and creativity coach, and, until a few years ago, a book reviewer as well. She’s written a dozen novels, two short story collections, and edited four anthologies. Her work has won three Goldies, three Rainbow Awards, the Alice B Medal, and the Ann Bannon Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon, and is currently working on her next novel and a nonfiction writing book about creativity. Website: www.LoriLLake.com.