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Streams of Mercy Review by Kris Price

By Teresa Slack
Tsaba House
2252 12th St., Reedley, CA 93654
(559) 643-8575

Streams of Mercy is the first in a series of books, the Jenna's Creek Novels, written by Teresa Slack. I love a good whodunit, so I was very excited to be able to review this book. I was not disappointed! The main character, Jamie Steele, lost her mother when she was 12 years old. Her father, James Steele, was abusive to her mother, so Jamie and her sister went to live with their paternal grandparents after their mother's death. When Jamie is 17, her father dies in a car accident. She overhears several conversations before and during the funeral reception and learns that her father has been the main suspect in an unsolved murder case for the past 25 years. There was not enough evidence to convict him in a court of law, but the circumstantial evidence was enough for the residents of the little town of Jenna's Creek to convict him in their hearts and minds.

After her father's death, Jamie decides that she has to find out if he really was the murderer. In her heart, she cannot forgive her father for his abusive treatment of her mother, and she initially believes that he is probably guilty of the murder. Her grandmother and uncle do not believe that James was capable of killing someone, and this spurs Jamie to try to find out the truth behind the 25-year old crime. She spends the summer before her senior year of high school working full-time in the town's pharmacy and part-time with the judge who oversaw the case years ago, searching to determine the guilt or innocence of her father. What if her father is found to be the guilty party? Can Jamie handle the truth? Will she be able to forgive him for his abusive behavior if he is found innocent of the crime?

This book had me guessing until the final few chapters. There is an underlying theme of forgiveness throughout the entire book. Several scenarios--Jamie being stood up on a date, her grandmother being mad at her for working away from home, etc.--make you ask yourself, "Would I be able to forgive this person if he treated me that way?" In the end, we are reminded of a verse from the sixth chapter of Luke: "Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." God gives us forgiveness freely--we do not earn it and we are often not worth of it, but He is merciful and forgives us when we are truly repentant of our sinful ways.

The book is NOT overtly preachy, but it gets the point of forgiveness across in an easy flowing manner throughout the entire book. Although the main character is 17 years old, each parent is going to have to decide whether their child should be allowed to read the book. Some themes in the book include premarital sex, promiscuity, and spousal/dating abuse and violence. No scenes of intimacy are graphically described. If my child was 17 or 18, I would let him or her read this book because it makes a great case for what happens when people are promiscuous! The second book in the series, Redemption's Song, is to be published in January 2006--I am eagerly waiting to return to Jenna's Creek so that I can visit with Jamie and several of the other characters again!

Product review by Kris Price, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2006