by Ingrid Thoft, is an informative and gripping novel about
abuse. It brings back Fina Ludlow, an outcast in her own family,
and a fighter for justice. It is very interesting how Thoft
intertwines a murder mystery while having readers question
organized religion and abuse. There are many similarities
where people learn facts about a community or person, yet
choose to ignore it. These two seemingly unrelated plots come
together as Fina must convince those who have this information
and facts to act upon it. It is a wonderful story about what
is right and wrong within the context of religion and life
Thoft got the idea for the story in reading about “a
Seattle Church that imploded.” She writes:
the Covenant Rising Church was Evangelical what was put forth
in the book could be applied to any religion. I wondered what
happens to people when the cornerstone of their experience
doesn’t turn out to be what they thought. I am fascinated
with the idea of mega churches where it is about faith, but
also is about money and power, especially those personalities
that rise to the top who are very charismatic.
I also thought of what happened in Penn State. So many people
chose not to do anything because of money, position, and power.
It blows my mind how people got this information and chose
to ignore it. They did their minimal duty and had the attitude
of washing their hands from it. It was as if they did not
want to upset the apple cart.
The story begins as Fina and her dad, the head attorney in
the high-powered personal injury law firm, meet with his old
flame, Ceci, who asks that they investigate the Covenant Rising
Church. Ceci’s daughter wants to bequeath a large amount
of expensive property to them. Fina finds the Church has a
slick chauvinistic pastor whose wife has her own infidelities.
In addition, both have suspiciously used the donations for
luxury cars, a vacation home, and a fancy house. After a prominent
Church member dies unexpectedly -- one Fina was to meet with
-- she becomes more suspicious of the Church’s undertakings.
The investigation uncovers misguided loyalties and questionable
motivations. This is rivaled only by Fina’s own family
problems, her abusive brother Rand, who she is trying to build
a case against.
According to the author, “The common thread is where
lots of people knew things, but did nothing about it. I questioned
‘at what moment do people speak up and say something
is wrong?’ The dynamics of power, status, and social
interaction influence how people make difficult decisions.
You cannot always believe with blind faith and look the other
way. We must keep our moral compass and allow dissent. Should
you subvert your critical thinking to fit in or subvert your
Fina is someone that not only stands up for herself, but also
for those who she feels cannot speak for themselves. She has
a strong sense of justice that spurs her to, at times, act
above the law. She is independent, headstrong, focused, and
loyal. Being a non-conformist, even within her own family,
sometimes makes her feel lonely and unaccepted. In this book
she is not left in a good place as she tries to deal with
family issues and why she prefers not settling down to a typical
Duplicity delves into serious topics, but the banter
between the characters and Fina’s sarcastic demeanor
present a welcome release. Readers will question along with
Fina the true meaning of faith and are given access to all
the dynamics within her dysfunctional family. In addition,
the murder mystery is very riveting.