Thomas & Mercer, October 18, 2016.
Away from the Dark is the highly anticipated sequel to the first novel in the series, Into the Light. When we last saw Sara and Jacob, they were happy and in love, living in a tight-knit religious community - rediscovering the joys of married life after the accident in which Sara lost her memory. In fact, Sara is so happy, that she decides to stop taking her birth control pills, without telling Jacob. What she doesn’t realize is that the pills also act as a memory suppressant, given to her by her supposed husband – and as her memories return, she also realizes that she is not actually Sara.
Sara is shocked as her previous identity comes flooding back to her, and she thinks she now knows everything there is to know about her imposter husband, Jacob. In fact, Jacob has a secret identity of his own – he is actually an FBI agent who has devoted years of work to infiltrating the cult known as “The Light”. When Sara finds out the truth, she decides she will remain with Jacob so they can work together to expose the cult leader, Father Gabriel. Although Sara has been assaulted and lied to, she is willing to sacrifice herself to prevent more women from being hurt.
This second novel started slowly, backtracking into the first book to revisit previous events. Technically, you could read this novel without the first, but the anticipation from Into the Light is what made this one so exciting. It is a well-developed, complex plot, but most of the development happened in book one, so this book was more about answering the questions set out in the first book. However, there were still plenty of unexpected twists. The romance elements were also more authentic in this, because Sara and Jacob could finally express their real personalities and get to know one another, as they struggled to come to terms with their new identities and salvage what was real in their fake marriage.
Once again, it was fascinating to explore the extent that people can be brainwashed to follow a charismatic individual such as Father Gabriel. Literature exploring cults and the indoctrination of their followers seems to be a common theme this year – we enjoy witnessing it from a distance, thinking we would never fall for it ourselves, but in fact it happens quite frequently. Romig does an excellent job of writing an exciting thriller with just a touch of romance, appealing to a wide audience. The novel ended with another shocking epilogue, leaving the series open for a possible third book, which I will certainly read if/when it is published.
I received this book from Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.