No Regrets (Angel of Hope Book 1) by Vickie Fisher

                Christian Romance Thriller is a genre very difficult to pull off well. My rating for this book (call it 3.5 stars, but 4 because amazon requires a whole number rating) is based entirely on the assumption that you (the potential reader) are specifically looking for a Christian faith-based inspirational story that will reinforce your beliefs.  The fundamental premise here is: “The Lord will keep you from all harm He will watch over your life.” {punctuation in original.} This and many (many) similar thoughts fill Brittany’s head during her perils. There is a lot of praying and calls for God to provide strength. As a thriller, it hits many standard tropes and attempts to create suspense.  There is some violence and some peril. As a romance, there is a lot of yearning and angst about love and sex (Brittany is a virgin) and temptations for Brittany, without any actual sex.  So, this is a satisfying read only if you don’t mind that the Christian/faith theme dominates and influences everything else.

                The plot follows Brittany (semi-independent daughter of a rich and powerful family) and Nick (a former DEA agent and now an agent for an ill-defined governmental law enforcement agency).  Ten years ago, Brittany and Nick met and fell in love.  Then, after Brittany foiled a drug bust/sting involving an evil mob boss (Vincent Capri), Nick and Brittany both got shot.  Brittany thinks Nick is dead.  Nick thinks Brittany is dead.  Although each of them considered the other their true love, neither one asked whether the other was alive, and none of their friends, family, or contacts told them.  Then, when Capri gets out of prison and comes gunning for Brittany, Nick shows up, assigned to be her body guard, and must escort her safely to her family’s compound in Colorado.

                Brittany loves Nick.  But she also hates him – how could he not contact her for ten years.  She thinks he’s a “playboy” who could never love her the way she needs him to (through Jesus).  Yet, she longs for him.  But, she is quick to believe every bad thing about Nick that she can imagine, assume, or that anybody tells her.  Nick and Brittany yo-yo back and forth between true love, sexual attraction, almost kissing, and then being angry and frustrated and allowing themselves to be pushed away from each other.  It’s exhausting trying to keep track of the emotions.

                The story includes many instances of false information that keeps Nick and Brittany from getting together.  There is an evil sex-pot cousin (Carissa) who tries to steal Nick from Brittany just to hurt Brittany. There is a complex and mostly irrelevant back story about how Brittany and Carissa had an (unbelievable) encounter in Cancun six years earlier. The Cancun incident is vaguely referenced several times during the story as if it is key to understanding Brittany and Carissa. But, when it’s finally explained it is incredible and is more a distraction than a reveal. There is also the cartoonish villain (Capri) who is a gangster with no heart, no soul, and no brains. He’s vicious and stupid.

                The thrill-ride has many twists and turns, but it’s difficult to suspend reality so much. There are many leaps of logic, and unlikely events. Then, of course, there is a dramatic (and even less believable) conclusion, where the hero and the villain do stupid things, Brittany has a harrowing peril (and prays for God to save her), and there is a surprise twist that makes little sense. But, it’s all very dramatic and thrilling in a B-movie, Duddly Doright kind of way.

                For the faith-based reader, this will be fun, entertaining, mildly erotic in places, suspenseful at times, and in the end emotionally satisfying and spiritually reinforcing.  If that’s your expectation, you will enjoy this book.

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