Saturday, 2 August 2008

'What Lies Within' by Karen Ball

What is it About?

Kyla Justice is the successful owner of her late father's construction business, Justice Construction. As a woman in a male dominated industry she has worked hard to earn her place in the field and her work has an enviable reputation. Despite her professional standing, she is feeling empty and unfulfilled with building projects whose only purpose is to make money for the client. Kyla wants a project that has some heart and soul at its core.

Meanwhile in another part of town a small group of believers are on a time limit to get their church building functional so that it can be of service to the community in which it stands. Their third contractor has just walked off the job and they have two months to get it up and running before the property would revert back to its original owners.

During a late night conversation between the owner of Kyla's favourite local coffee shop, Rafe Murphy, and Frederik, a dear friend from long ago, Frederik realises that Kyla may be the answer to the church's construction problems. Despite the impossibility of the task, Kyla thinks this might be the project she has been longing for.

What I thought:

'What Lies Within' is the third and final book in the Family Honour Series by Karen Ball. It is the absolutely perfect icing on a divinely delectable cake. I loved 'Shattered Justice' and 'Kaleidescope Eyes' and so this book had a lot to live up to. Karen does not let you down!

Kyla has a number of challenges to overcome from her past. The death of her parents has seen her hone her first-born inclination to be bossy and controlling. Another incident in her young adulthood explains her unconscious tendency to hold people a little at arm's length. Karen brings Kyla through all of these things in a completely realistic way, from the first smallest unexpected thought, to the ability to let go of her past and allow herself to be fully invested in her future.

I loved the character of Rafe. He is a wounded ex-Marine who has that armed forces strength of character, balanced with compassion and a genuine care for those around him. Tarik, the young man who lives with Rafe, made me laugh. Karen's sense of humour shines through in Tarik. He has a quick wit, calling things as he sees them.

The warrior-like faith of the group that is re-building their church is an inspiration and encouragement. I loved the way that despite the impossible challenges they faced, they didn't allow those to determine that God was closing a door for them. The question they kept asking was "has God released us from our call?". Indeed! A far more pertinent question to ask in the face of adversities that are not actually a door closing at all.

Whilst it is not essential to read this series in order, I would highly recommend that you do so. They are worthy of a place on everyone's bookshelf. The theme of letting go and letting God, and allowing oneself to trust others is the strong theme through this book and Karen gently reminds the reader of these through Kyla's struggles. 'What Lies Within' is difficult to put down and definitely requires a tissues or two.

Our Phone Call with Karen Ball:

Last night our book club got to chat in person with the wonderful Karen. She sacrificed a few hours of precious sleep for us, getting up at 4.30am for our 9.30pm phone call. I had looked forward to it all week and I was not disappointed! Karen has a wicked and zany sense of humour and her love for life flows easily. I am sure that she is a blessing and precious gem as a friend, and a beautiful gift to the authors that she works with. Her 'real job' as an editor in Christian fiction is fascinating and she shared with us what it is that she does! She also shared of her personal journey in faith. What a story Karen has!

Karen, thank you for taking the time to spend the early morning hour with us. It was wonderful to get to know the amazing woman behind the books that I have long enjoyed. 'Shattered Justice' sticks in my mind with amazing clarity. I still can't believe you did it....the kids. I'm still in shock LOL.

Rel, as always your passion for Christian fiction is a gift to the rest of us and your willingness and ability to organise these special events is a blessing beyond compare.


Rel said...

Trac - given the time you left my place and when you posted this amazing review, I'm tipping you didn't get much sleep :)

Your words shine, my friend! You are a great friend and your contributions to book club and WoW are invaluable :)

Love ya!

Karen B. said...

Tracy, thanks so much. I had a wonderful time talking with you all, and haven't felt the lack of sleep a bit.

Well...maybe a TEENY bit, but not bad.

So anytime you gals want to talk, just let me know. I'm up for it!

Thanks, too, for your gracious comments about WHAT LIES WITHIN. I appreciate it--and you--a great deal.

Blessings to you today.


aka Karen Ball :)

Tracy said...

Rel, I must admit to feeling a little heavy around the eyes today!

Karen, thank you for taking the time out of your busy day!

Dianne said...


I enjoyed your book review on this series of Karen Ball. She is an author that I have yet to enjoy though I am an avid reader. I guess that I have so many other books that I have been reading that I have not come accross her books before.

The book sounds like something that I would enjoy and when out looking for some new books to read, I will definately look for this series.

Thanks for sharing this!

Tracy said...

Dianne, you'll love them. You know how you would read a book by a particular author just because you've like a previous book or two? I would always pick up a book by Karen Ball. I just love the way she writes.

Rel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rel said...

Karen has posted about us - LOL!

nolene said...

Hi Tracy,
I just love your blog!!! Your reviews are great and the receipes and meandering are just lovely.
I'll definetly be popping in often.