Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book on Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Click the title for the book description/blurb.)
To Die Once by Miranda A. Uyeh was more than I expected, beginning in a country I’ve never visited before in a novel, Nigeria, and taking turns in the plot that should give fans of romantic suspense a lot to chew on. One twist/turn was a bit too far-fetched for me to completely buy into, personally, but it was a creative idea that brought the story together. I liked getting into Rodrigo’s head from the beginning of his romance with Jennifer, to see what else was behind his smile besides desire. I also liked how Jennifer wasn’t the only one with a hard, private plight to face in this relationship, and truth be told, I personally found Rodrigo’s side of things to be the more interesting of the two.
It wasn’t long before Rodrigo “won her heart,” but it didn’t appear to me that it took much beyond his looks and physical advances to make Jennifer’s heart open and available to him. I found a deeper and more convincing explanation about why he might love her than why she’d love him, especially so quickly. After a while, though, I went with it.
I’ve seen the issue of Christians marrying people outside of the Christian faith addressed before in fiction, and I applaud the author for boldly addressing it in this novel. Since this theme coursed throughout the book, one thing I would have liked to see delved into more thoroughly is: why? If Jennifer was going against her values and beliefs by getting romantically involved with Rodrigo, what were those beliefs, specifically, beyond the “cardinal rule” that was applied to mean “don’t get married to someone who isn’t of this religion”? If Rodrigo had just been a nice guy Jennifer met without the shocking truth that would shake their world (as the book blurb describes), what principles would have made the rule she believed in important, beyond the surface “do’s and don’t’s”, when it simply came to Rodrigo, the human being? However, it’s just a question, one that would likely be beside the point of this story.
As I’m a reader who loves stories of hope, I found the message of hope in this novel to be a big plus. “No matter how dead something may look, if you never give up on it, you just might give it a chance to live again.” Yes!