Isle of Shadows, by Tracy L Higley

Isle of Shadows
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

BOOK DESCRIPTION: This book is revised and updated from the original, Christy-award finalist Shadow of Colossus.

Enslaved in a World of Money and Power, Tessa Dares to be Free.

Raised as courtesan to wealthy and powerful men, Tessa of Delos serves at the whim of her current patron, the politician Glaucus. After ten years with him, Tessa has abandoned all desire for freedom or love, choosing instead to lock her heart away.

But when Glaucus meets a violent death in his own home, Tessa grasps at a fragile hope. Only she knows of his death. If she can keep it a secret long enough, she can escape.

Tessa throws herself on the mercy of the Greek god Helios, but finds instead unlikely allies in Nikos, a Greek slave, and Simeon, Glaucus’s Jewish head servant. As Simeon introduces her to a God unlike any she has ever known and Nikos begins to stir feelings she had thought long dead, Tessa fights to keep her heart protected.

As an assassination plot comes to light, Tessa must battle for her own freedom—and for those to whom she has begun to open her heart—as forces collide that shatter the island’s peace.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tracy Higley started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. After attending Philadelphia Biblical University, she earned a B.A. in English Literature at Rowan University. She then spent ten years writing drama presentations for church ministry.

A lifelong interest in history and mythology has led Tracy to extensive research into ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, and shaped her desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past.

MY THOUGHTS:  Tessa is a natural heroine, brave in the face of danger, yet vulnerable to the suffering she must endure.  Facing odds that spell disaster, she makes choices that, one at a time, bring her closer to her goal of freedom.  Along the way, she realizes that spiritual freedom and the freedom to love are even more important than being loosed from the men who have paid for her services.

This is historical fiction at its best.  With strong themes of atonement, grace, and forgiveness, historical figures meet fictional characters at a crucial time.  The book is set in the Silent Years between the Old and New Testaments, and an extra chapter at the end fills the reader in on important historical tidbits, separating fact from fiction.

The beautiful setting on the island of Rhodes, Greece, comes alive through vivid descriptions.  An interactive website makes Tessa's world even more real through photo tours of the island, videos and links to historic sites, the author's travel diary, discussion questions, and much more.

I really enjoyed reading this book and, even though I had a feeling how it would end, getting there was a lot of fun!

PARENTAL RATING:  Because the main character, Tessa, is basically a sex slave, parents are cautioned to preview this material.  There were no overt references to what she did, but lots of innuendo and several close calls kept the level of tension pretty high in this particular book.  I would not suggest it for younger teens, but perhaps some older readers would be able to handle it.  I would definitely recommend working through the extra links on the website, to take full advantage of how much can be learned from this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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