The more insecure you are, the more you the devil can tempt you (or something like that).
Welcome to June’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group, started by Alex Cavanaugh! Author Nicki Elson introduced me to IWSG and has helped me with quite a few of my own insecurities through her warmth and support.
When I discovered Nicki wrote a paranormal romance, I was nervous. One of my insecurities is that I seem to be one of the few readers who’s not into paranormal.
But happily, I LOVED Nicki’s book Divine Temptation! A book about angels and demons seems more spiritual and less paranormal to me, I guess. And I do enjoy romance novels.
Hop over to Nicki’s BLOG where I interview her about her insecurities, and stick around to read my review of her fantastic novel!
Divine Temptation by Nicki Elson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Deep and Affirming
Nicki Elson, author of the fun and flirty college romp Three Daves, heads in a different direction for this adult spiritual romance. I loved the realistic characters, the suspense, and the deep questions this novel provokes.
Maggie Brock is reeling after her husband Carl divorced her. Together they have a daughter Kirsten and a son Liam, and Maggie has to figure out how to proceed as a single mother. She takes a job as administrative assistant at her Catholic church, and tries to tolerate Carl’s new girlfriend establishing a relationship with her children.
Nightly dreams of an angel visiting her bedroom intrigue her, until she awakes one night and realizes this male angel is real. Quiet, lean, and handsome, he invites Maggie to give him a name: Evan. It’s not clear why God sent Evan to protect Maggie, but it is clear she is in some sort of danger. Eek!
Complicating matters is the arrival of a prissy, suspicious priest to oversee the workings of the church, aka the Monsignor. Maggie gets bad vibes from him. Is he the malevolent force Evan is supposed to thwart? When Maggie runs into the monsignor and he questions her, she keeps Evan secret.
For all she knew, the monsignor would attempt to incarcerate Evan E.T. style to study him.
Ha! Maggie struggles with her attraction to Evan, knowing God would disapprove of her getting it on with one of His angels. I have a little crush on Evan too, I must admit. Poor Maggie!
Evan provides this heavenly advice: “Stop trying to control what you feel and just feel it. Trust.”
Meanwhile, ex-husband Carl woos Maggie back into bed. I wonder how common it is for divorced couples to sneak sex again? That happened in a recent read Blue Shoe but I enjoyed Divine Temptation far more than Blue Shoe. Maggie and Carl’s sexy reunion leads her to think that maybe they can make it work again, until Carl bursts her bubble. Their ensuing argument is painful to read:
“You know what?” Maggie fumed. “Thank you, Carl. Thank you for reminding me of all the reasons we didn’t work. You’re absolutely right—we’re so much better apart. Because you never ever did anything wrong. Ever. I t was just mean old Maggie telling you things were wrong. I just made it up in my crazy, little mind, but really, you were perfect in every way.”
I love the shades of grey in the characters. Maggie’s no saint–she’s just trying to do her best–which makes her imminently likable. I’m impressed how Evan comes across as both sweet and powerful, matching my view of divinity. Kirsten is a whiny pre-teen who pushes the limits like a teenager but needs those limits like a child, and Liam adores video games like Mario Bros. Maggie’s friend Sharon is direct and funny. Even Father Tom and the Monsignor have their obvious faults.
The plot twists and turns, leading to a creepy showdown between good and evil. This is one of my favorite quotes from the story:
“You might not believe in the devil, but do you believe evil lurks in this world?”
Wow, that gets to me. I view God as a loving force, and at times I question the presence of hell and the devil. But I have witnessed evil in this world–no question.
You can tell how much this angel story affected me. I encourage you to let Maggie and Evan into your heart as well!