My review of Borders of the Heart by Chris Fabry

About the book:

Desperate to escape haunting memories, J. D. Jessup travels from Nashville to Tucson and volunteers on an organic farm. The hardened landowner has one prevailing rule: If J. D. sees an “illegal,” call the border patrol. But when an early morning ride along the fence line leads him to a beautiful young woman named Maria, near death in the desert, his heart pulls him in another direction. Longing to atone for the choices that drove him to Tucson, J. D. hides her and unleashes a chain of deadly events he could never have imagined. Soon they are running from a killer and fighting for their lives. As secrets of their pasts emerge, J. D. realizes that saving Maria may be the only way to save himself.

My review:

This book was about a relevant topic for my life and I loved that it was set in the southern portion of Arizona in the general area where I live. I don’t recall the weather being as hot as described in the story and I doubt they would hold a rally in that kind of temperature, but I’m acclimated to the weather here so I probably wouldn’t notice the heat anyway. The monsoon rain was described well. The long list of bodies that were found because of Muerte made the story a bit gruesome, but situations like that are not unheard of near the border. The suspense in this story was excellent and had me on the edge of my seat.

Many people don’t realize just how active those Mexican cartels are, but living in a border state and knowing people who work for the Border Patrol gives credibility to the situations in this novel and brings them to the forefront. My husband is already paranoid about gun rights, so books like this will jerk his chain. But I digress.

I loved the spiritual depth of this story and the way the hero, JD, had to go through his grief to move forward in his life. I loved how Maria showed him that fear prevented love from taking hold, and at the same time the constant threat of death and protecting Maria kindled a fire in him that had burned out with his wife’s death to cancer. Maria gave him permission to take risks and to experience love again.

I saw Muerte as being similar to the devil in that he was skilled at putting doubts in JD’s mind and causing him to second guess what he believed to be true. Satan messes with our heads like that. So we simply have to trust God to lead us in the direction that He plans to take us and to let Him guide us.

There is always a bigger plan for us than we have for ourselves, and that was probably the most exciting message in this book. JD’s tragic loss brought him across the country and to a place that would need him to prevent a tragedy that would affect the entire nation. God’s plans are so much greater than ours, and more far-reaching.

The purpose for our lives is not about finding the best way to be comfortable. Our journey is about serving God for a greater purpose if we’ll only trust Him to lead us. Great story! I highly recommend this novel. It’s making my favorite fiction list for 2012 since I couldn’t put it down and because of the depth of the message.

Borders of the Heart was published by Tyndale and releases Oct. 1, 2012.

(A side note… within a few days of reading this book another person from the border patrol was murdered near Bisbee and the cartel is suspected. Interesting how close the book comes to reality there. I have many friends with relatives in Mexico who won’t go to visit them because of the danger.)
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