Today's book review is from Barb, she blogs at http://barbtaub.com/ Barb chose to read and review Before the Dawn by Georgia Rose
My Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Before the Dawn
I’ve been reading about Japanese sword-making for a current project, and the process sounded oddly familiar. Then I sat down to write a review of Georgia Rose’s Before the Dawn, the second volume in her Grayson trilogy. And I got it. A good sword has to be hard enough to hold a sharp edge, while being strong and flexible enough to absorb massive shocks without cracking or breaking. The story of Emma Grayson parallels the process of creating thekatana, the masterpiece of Japanese sword-making.
In creating a katana, or samurai sword, the swordsmith starts with a block of carbon and iron sand, which is heated and folded over and over. Too little folding and the steel will be too flexible. Too much and the strengthening grain will disappear. In the first Grayson volume, A Single Step, Emma Grayson goes through this process. Tested over and over through devastating loss—her parents, her child, her marriage—she emerges with both strength to survive and flexibility to embrace new growth and even find love. Both Emma and her new love Trent have faced their past nightmares and found the courage to commit to each other.
The next step in the sword-making process is to temper the blade, to make it strong and flexible by heating it to red-hot before quenching it in water. This is what Emma goes through in Before the Dawn. She and Trent are together, exploring the still-fragile bonds of their new love. They learn that his undercover work is about to follow him home, putting everyone at Melton Manor into danger. Despite her feelings of inadequacy at lacking the military training and experience of others on the estate, it falls to Emma to protect not only herself, but the wife and children of Trent’s partner. She has to become that strong, flexible tool—willing to use her beloved horses, a child’s recollections, and even a fire extinguisher as a weapon.
In my review of A Single Step, I commented on the “careful, deliberate pacing” of the novel. No more! Before the Dawn is a roller-coaster, a not-to-be-put-down adrenaline junkie’s dream of a thriller. If Georgia Rose took the elements of a gothic novel and made them into her own genre in the first volume, this time she does the same with the thriller. She lays meticulous groundwork, allowing us to see Emma’s doubts and fears. The action rises to edge-of-your-seat levels in the middle of the book, followed by the piece you seldom get to see in other thrillers as Emma and her friends come to terms with the lingering effects of the violence that engulfed Melton Manor.
For me, the definition of a five-star review is a work that not only would I not hesitate to recommend to others, but an author who goes straight to my auto-buy list. I’d buy their work in hard-copy—and I wouldn’t ever lend it out. Before the Dawn meets all of these criteria and more.
The last step of sword-making is to hone the edge and provide the correct hilt so that it can be balanced, lightweight, and sharp enough to wield effectively. In the first two books, Emma Grayson has been forged into that weapon. There are still questions to be answered, about both her past and the forces who attacked Trent and the Estate. I can’t wait to see how Emma—now strong, flexible, and sharp-edged—meets those challenges.*I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.** Find a copy here from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk