Wednesday, February 6, 2013
DESTINY'S DIVAS by Victoria Christopher Murray
VCM has done it again...
I enjoyed this book so much that I'm not even sure where to start this review. I could rave about how well thought out and real I think the characters are or about how well the three women's stories are told and brought together in the main plot. There is a message in the book, but it isn't some bible-thumping, holier-than-thou sermon between the front and back covers.
Sierra, Raine, and Liza are the three members of Destiny's Divas, a gospel singing group, each of them representing a different generation. Not only do they sing, but they give their testimony along with their musical ministry.
Sierra, the youngest, is presented to the public as a role model. Her testimony is that she's a celibate young woman who is saving herself for the man God has for her. The real Sierra, however, is anything but. And when the guy she's been seeing breaks up with her instead of proposing like she thought he would, we see a glimpse of a psychotic side to her. The reader can't help but to feel sorry for her, though. Beneath that psychotic/deluded surface, she's simply a girl looking for love who latches on when a man pays her some attention, thinking it's time to start planning a future. Things she does catches up to her, however, ruining not only her chance at what could possible be the love she yearns, but possibly the group itself.
Raine is a former pop star who had the idea to form the group. From the outside looking in, she has the perfect home life - a handsome, loving husband, a wonderful daughter, and a doting mother-in-law. Her testimony is about unconditional love. But, of course, things are not what they seem. Raine and her dear hubby's mom don't see eye to eye on everything and it's time for Mom-in-Law to go when she does the unthinkable - questions and tries to interfere with Raine's way of raising her daughter. (As a mother myself, I caught myself raising an eyebrow, thinking "Who does she think she is?")
Lisa is the oldest in the group. A preacher's wife, her testimony is that love can be everlasting. Her marriage of 20+ years is perfect and the ministry she and her husband began is flourishing. The only dark cloud in her life is that her kids have moved as far away as they could, refusing to visit, and she doesn't know why. Her daughter phones periodically, but Liza doesn't even have her son's phone number. The ministry is threatened by a scandal that her husband won't tell her about. Kept in the dark, she taps into her inner Sherlock Holmes and starts digging. What ultimately comes to light shows just how bliss ignorance is.
I started reading this book laid back on the couch. When I got to the last chapter (and I read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down), I found myself sitting straight up on the edge of the couch, my eyes wide. (The build-up from the time they get off the plane to the actions of that night is PHENOMENAL!)
I found this to be a story of redemption or of overcoming what some would see as insurmountable obstacles. Sierra's downfall was ultimately an act that many see as harmless. For her, it resulted in humiliation on a national scale and the loss of what was potentially the love affair she'd been seeking all her life. Raine's difficulty was in meshing her husband and mother-in-laws African culture with her American one in relation to how her daughter was to be raised. Most of the women I know (myself included) would have tossed the she-devil out and banned her from visiting or even calling. But Raine stuck it out, still trying to have a relationship with her. In Liza's case, the secrets that were revealed would have left some women hiding in shame, and others bitter and resentful. Liza is neither.
Through all their ordeals, instead of giving up or crumbling, they emerged stronger women.
Lady Jasmine even peeked into a scene.
Will we see this trio again? RTB and VCM, if you're reading this, will Lady Jasmine and Lady Rachel be fighting over which of them can book the group to perform at a function? Maybe at the next meeting of the American Baptist Coalition?
I thought The Deal, The Dance, and The Devil was my favorite VCM novel, but now, I'm not so sure.
Destiny's Divas and other Victoria Christopher Murray titles are available in print and e-book formats at local and online retailers. Click on the cover below to purchase from Amazon.com.