Shattering Secrets was the first book I’ve read by Chautona Havig, and it most definitely will not be the last. I was captivated from the first chapter and honestly didn’t want it to end. In fact, the mark of a good book, in my opinion, is one that keeps you thinking long after the last page is turned, and that is the definition of this book for me.

At first, I thought Sean and Emily were a little too perfect, and Kate was a little too cynical and bitter. My thoughts were, “I don’t know any couple that conducts their marriage with so many boundaries in place, has such in depth conversations or are so open with their feelings – are they even real?” but oh, yes, they were real, very real. I don’t know of any couples who have mentors in their lives, but we find out soon enough why this couple has a mentor and why this couple has such tight boundaries. Isn’t there a saying that goes something like, “He who doth protest too much???”

I loved how the author slowly leaked out the details about the couple – she didn’t bore me with back story, she didn’t dump information on me all at once, but she allowed it to slowly be revealed, like it would naturally as you get to know a friend. There were hints here and there, but she allowed the reader to slowly discover the nuances that made the couple come alive.

I completely, totally fell in love with Davia, Joey, and yes, even Jamal. I didn’t want to like Davia, because of her seduction and how she admitted to knowing exactly what she was doing, but she was painted in such a way by the author that I could totally understand, (not condone) but understand her feelings and reasons for the actions she took. I also wanted to not like Jamal, but the author did a great job portraying all the nuances about him as well. While not a believer, he had every excuse to not be a respectable man, but he was, and I admired him even more for it. In fact, the way he rose above Sean’s actions says a lot about his manhood. As a nonbeliever he had every reason to do what felt good, as Sean proved everyone is capable of doing; yet, he chose the high road instead and as I stated above, made me respect him even more. And Joey – wow, the author was spot on with the feelings/emotions/confusion/doubt the little boy felt. I wanted to pull him up on my lap more times than I could count. And Piper, sweet Piper. How could one not fall in love with the feisty little spitfire that she was?

I thought I had pegged Emily’s parents and the reason behind why they were so hostile toward her announcement, but my perception was wrong and it brought in even more layers to the story. I loved the way the author painted the range of emotions that all the characters went through, and the ups and downs that come with healing. I love how the author showed Emily had a choice: she could either choose healing or bitterness and while one may want to want to choose healing, they usually have to fight the carnal bitterness to fully get there.

I love the raw emotions that were shown by the Emily, Sean, the mentors (Vince and Lisa), Kate, Anthony, Sean and Emily’s parents, Jamal and the kids. Davia, though only in the story for a short while, was portrayed so well and her feelings fleshed out so that her presence lingered long after she left.

The spiritual element of the book was amazing. There were so many parts that I kept repeating to myself and I loved, absolutely loved, the way Emily started their presentation in the epilogue. Spot on! I love how the characters showed that adultery hurts not just the marriage (husband and wife) but how it’s a domino effect on everyone who loves the couple.

I would have loved to have found out a bit more about Vince and Lisa’s background, although I know they weren’t the focus of the story. I love how Lisa kept bringing Emily back to the truth, and I love how Vince and Lisa didn’t sugar coat the process, the betrayal or allow either party to get off track from the hard work they needed to put into healing. If I was in a struggling marriage, there were so many truths I could grasp from this fiction – the author did a great job supplying real biblical truths wrapped up in a wonderful story that flowed.

This is a story I will be thinking about for a long time and recommending to many friends. There were so many truths, and the hard topic was tackled in such a beautiful way – as the reader, I felt as though I was walking through the storm with the characters, but also like I was being handed spiritual tools to help guard my own marriage and safeguard it against this exact trial that attempts to destroy every biblical marriage, and couple who choose to do life God’s way.

I tried to keep spoilers out of this review so that when you read it for yourself, you will be surprised as you turn the page.

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