2 out of 4 stars
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No Accidents by Sonja Wells is written as a Christian romance. Dayla, a 47-year old widow, holds a life-long philosophy that nothing happens by chance. Every person met, every situation encountered is part of a larger plan. As such, she is content with her life, even though she has suffered great tragedies. Her son died in combat, and her husband died of cancer. However, Dayla's strong faith in God allows her to be happy in spite of the circumstances. One of her greatest joys is teaching and interacting with deaf children. She has been teaching for 25 years, and it is obvious that she has a passion for her job.
Through a mutual friend, Dayla meets Kent. Although Dayla has no intention of starting a relationship, the two of them strike an easy friendship and soon discover a mutual love of mountain hiking. Dayla and Kent begin to plan a backpacking trip together in the Great Smokies of North Carolina. Through a series of events, Dayla finds herself backpacking alone when the unthinkable happens. Will Dayla's faith continue to help her through even this? Will Kent and Dayla find a future together?
The plot in No Accidents is simple, as are the characters. Although much insight is given into what both Kent and Dayla are thinking, little other character development is evident. I would have liked the characters to be more deeply drawn. The pace is somewhat slow as well as unsteady, at times hindered by large sections explaining Dayla's life philosophy. There was so much of this that I felt like skipping some of it. Also, the book felt a smidge preachy at times. With the philosophy of the book being that nothing happens by chance, I found it interesting that "coincidences" played a major part in the plot line.
On the positive side, it is obvious that the author loves the outdoors and has spent time in the mountains. Even though I have been hiking only a few times and backpacking even less, the author's descriptions of the outdoors brought back all the sights, sounds, and emotions of any decent hike. I felt both the exertion as well as the exhilaration of being in the mountains. The Great Smokies certainly are a worthy setting.
The editing is very clean. I found only two very small mistakes, one a misspelling, "sshe" and one extra quotation mark. I personally would give this book 2 out of 4 stars, largely due to the flat characters and simplistic plot. For me, the lack of racy scenes is a positive. A reader looking for a sweet romance without intimate details might enjoy this book.
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