Reviews * Giveaway
Conviction by Robbin J. Peterson
After a rocky start as a missionary in Ukraine, Elder Neal Christensen is struggling to learn the Russian language and embrace an unfamiliar life away from his small Northern California town. And in an instant, a peculiar encounter with the wrong people changes everything. Dragged from his apartment in the dead of night, Neal is taken to prison and charged with the theft of a priceless museum piece. As days turn into weeks, he is thrown into a world of uncertainty where he must rely on the only person he can trust—the Savior. And as his Russian slowly improves within the prison walls, he begins preaching the gospel in the last place he imagined proselytizing. But when civil unrest erupts in Ukraine, the now-familiar routine of imprisonment is over. Neal is trapped in the chaos, and with his life on the line, his only hope of survival is escape. Yet he learns too late that there is as much danger awaiting him outside the prison walls as within. Someone has gone to great lengths to incriminate the young missionary, and they will stop at nothing to silence him forever.
I hadn't heard of author Robbin J. Peterson before I was given the opportunity to review Conviction, so I wasn't sure what to expect. In my mind, the author was a former missionary who served in Ukraine and wrote a novel based loosely on some of his experiences. It wasn't until I finished the book that I realized the author was a woman. That speaks highly of Peterson's writing. There are some books where the author doesn't do well writing from the view of the opposite sex (although honestly I mostly find that when a man is writing in a woman's point of view).
Part of the reason I wanted to read Conviction was because my husband served a mission in Russia, and portions of the intriguing description sounded like his mission (of course, his experiences weren't nearly so dramatic).
Conviction is well-written and kept me interested throughout the story. I loved that I was kept on my toes. I didn't realize who the bad guy was until the reveal, which made for a great ride.
Sometimes religious books don't flow well as they intertwine religion with everything else, but that wasn't the case with Conviction. Perhaps that's because I was expecting lots of religion since the story was about a missionary, but whatever the case, Peterson did a great job with it.
We are all sinners in need of our Savior's Atonement, and Neal's repentance process was touching. The change of hearts mixed with the mystery and suspense of the stolen ring made for a good read. I would read more from this author.
I typically read a lot of Regency romance books these days, so every time I read something different, it takes my brain a little bit to adjust to things. This story drew me in right away though, so no adjustment period was needed. Right from the beginning, the reader gets to know so much about Elder Christensen, including his massive feelings of guilt.
My brother-in-law served his mission in Russia, and I am really curious if he experienced any of the same things that these elders did in Ukraine. (I'm especially curious to find out what it was about the meat that had them avoiding it.)
I can't even begin to imagine how frightening it would be to be imprisoned in a country where you barely know the language and have very little hope of being released. Neal was amazing at how he clung to his faith - not only for himself, but he also shared it with others that he was imprisoned with. Obviously, since the book is about a Mormon missionary there was a lot of gospel talk throughout, but the author wove it into the story in a non-preachy kind of way. I was impressed that Neal lived the best he could, even with the horrible circumstances that he was in.
The climax of the story was a bit confusing and I was afraid that I would end the story with more questions than I started with. Thankfully, all of my questions were answered in a satisfactory way by the end.
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading other stories from this author.
*June 18th: https://www.rockinbookreviews.
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Author: Robbin J. Peterson
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
Published: June 2018
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book