Wade Benedict is a long way from home. He's left the safety and security of Turn-Coupe, Louisiana to complete a task he'd promised an old friend who was on his deathbed. This promise landed him in Hazaristan, a small middle eastern country in the midst of turmoil.
Chloe Madison grew up in the U.S. until her mother remarried. Shortly thereafter, following the Soviet evacuation, her new stepfather moved Chloe and her mother back to his country. Within a year, religious extremists take over the country and Chloe is living a nightmare. At first Chloe tries writing to her father to come rescue her, but after years of no response and losing her mother to a horrible death, Chloe begins to do what she can to secretly help the women of her new country.
Twelve years later, Chloe meets Wade in a public square where "justice" is being meted out. As this stranger helps her to her feet, he tells Chloe that he is there at her father's request, to rescue her at last. At first Chloe fights the idea of leaving Hazaristan, believing the women there need her, but situations in her life soon become worse, and she is left little choice but to go with Wade. Torn between relief and fear, Chloe is unsure how she will adjust after years in this foreign place, but Wade works hard to reassure the beautiful young woman.
After a treacherous escape, Wade finally gets Chloe back home and brings her with him to Turn-Coupe. They believe the worst is over until they discover that the terror has followed them home. But now they are on the home ground of the Benedictsand no one hurts a Benedict, or someone important to them, in Louisiana.
Ms. Blake has masterfully painted a picture of a world that is foreign to us, and clearly shows the horror that continues to threaten women in many Mid-East countries. Into this frightening picture, she places a heroine who is resigned to the only adult life she has ever known and yet discovers an amazing reserve of strength when the need arises. And, as always, the newest addition to the Benedict heroes walks in and grabs the hearts of her heroine and her readers alike. A truly illuminating, exemplary read! (Sep., 384 pp., $6.50)