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Bound by Guilt Review by Dawn Oaks

By C. J. Darlington
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive
Carol Stream, IL 60188

As our girls reached their preteen and teen years, it became increasingly difficult to find appropriate reading material for them that they could enjoy in their free time. They read lots of classics for school assignments. However, when it came to leisure reading, the challenge and search felt comparable to the quest for modestly fitting blue jeans.

Bound by Guilt is the moving story of Roxi Gold, a stowaway teen in search of a home. The desire to be accepted and cared for leads Roxi into the company of those that are less than honorable. Before she knows what is happening, she finds herself an accessory to theft and murder. Can she escape? Maybe, but she realizes that she will never escape her conscience. Will going forward to the authorities ease the guilt? Or will she be forever Bound by Guilt?

Upon first glance, I was concerned about bringing into my girls' minds elements that we shield them from by not watching the nightly news. After all, doesn't Scripture command us to focus on what is good and noble? Much to my amazement, the idea of placing judgment based on first impressions was a theme within the book. This was just one of a multitude of lessons to be learned through the story of Roxi Gold.

Bound by Guilt illustrates how easily a small venture into sin can quickly snowball into much larger things. When you combine this natural progression with strong peer influence, it is like putting your foot on the gas pedal and hitting the floorboards. Our girls saw very vividly through this book how easily things can get out of hand and leave you wondering if there is any way out. I would much rather have them learn this lesson through the thickening plot of a storyline than their own life experiences.

As with most credible Christian reads, Bound by Guilt concludes with a strong message of redemption and the power of forgiveness. Does this make the ending predictable? I prefer to view it as the perfect illustration of God's love for mankind. Can you get any better than that?

Bound by Guilt is spellbinding, packed with good theology, and a great Christian alternative for your preteen or teen to many of the secular choices at your public library.

Product review by Dawn Oaks, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine , LLC, May 2011