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The Girl Behind the Red Rope

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Ten years ago, Grace saw something that would forever change the course of history. When evil in its purest form is unleashed on the world, she and others from their religious community are already hidden deep in the hills of Tennessee, abiding by every rule that will keep them safe, pure--and alive. As long as they stay there, behind the red perimeter. Her olde Ten years ago, Grace saw something that would forever change the course of history. When evil in its purest form is unleashed on the world, she and others from their religious community are already hidden deep in the hills of Tennessee, abiding by every rule that will keep them safe, pure--and alive. As long as they stay there, behind the red perimeter. Her older brother's questions and the arrival of the first outsiders she's seen in a decade set in motion events that will question everything Grace has built her life on. Enemies rise on all sides--but who is the real enemy? And what will it cost her to uncover the truth? For the first time, bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker team up and deliver an intense, tightly focused ride through the most treacherous world of all.


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Ten years ago, Grace saw something that would forever change the course of history. When evil in its purest form is unleashed on the world, she and others from their religious community are already hidden deep in the hills of Tennessee, abiding by every rule that will keep them safe, pure--and alive. As long as they stay there, behind the red perimeter. Her olde Ten years ago, Grace saw something that would forever change the course of history. When evil in its purest form is unleashed on the world, she and others from their religious community are already hidden deep in the hills of Tennessee, abiding by every rule that will keep them safe, pure--and alive. As long as they stay there, behind the red perimeter. Her older brother's questions and the arrival of the first outsiders she's seen in a decade set in motion events that will question everything Grace has built her life on. Enemies rise on all sides--but who is the real enemy? And what will it cost her to uncover the truth? For the first time, bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker team up and deliver an intense, tightly focused ride through the most treacherous world of all.

30 review for The Girl Behind the Red Rope

  1. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    1- Do I recommend Ted Dekker? Yes...for a secular, on-the-clean-side thriller. 2- Can I recommend this book? No, not really. It wears a Christian label but offers generic truth with an emphasis on love and banishing fear, but without specifically presenting Jesus as the only Redeemer and light of the world...a few references to God. I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities. 3- Age range I’d hand it over to adults or to teens who are already 1- Do I recommend Ted Dekker? Yes...for a secular, on-the-clean-side thriller. 2- Can I recommend this book? No, not really. It wears a Christian label but offers generic truth with an emphasis on love and banishing fear, but without specifically presenting Jesus as the only Redeemer and light of the world...a few references to God. I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities. 3- Age range I’d hand it over to adults or to teens who are already grounded in their faith and are more of the target audience for dystopian. No star rating yet....

  2. 5 out of 5

    Allison Tebo

    FTC Disclosure: Revell Reads gave me complimentary copies of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts. Deep down, I guessed that this book would not be for me. Dystopian and I do not have a very good relationship. Still, I decided to give it a try. I should have known better. The moment I opened the book, before I had even finished the first sentence, I was overwhelmed with this novel’s predominant feeling of darkness. I c FTC Disclosure: Revell Reads gave me complimentary copies of this book. A positive review was not required. These are my honest thoughts. Deep down, I guessed that this book would not be for me. Dystopian and I do not have a very good relationship. Still, I decided to give it a try. I should have known better. The moment I opened the book, before I had even finished the first sentence, I was overwhelmed with this novel’s predominant feeling of darkness. I couldn’t get beyond chapter two before I had to quit. While this book does shine the light on “Christian” cults and points out a lot of dangers that many professing Christians fall into (the purity culture, trying to predict the Second Coming, salvation by works, etc) it, like most gritty Christian novels, spends way too much time dwelling on the dark than on the light—a common trap for many authors. It might be helpful to some readers, I suppose, although I even have my doubts about that. The “allegorical” elements of the book seem far too vague and open to random interpretation—a dangerous thing when placed in the hands of some readers who stand on a shaky foundation and struggle in separating extra-biblical fiction from Scriptural truth. This looked like dark and disturbing read and, more alarmingly, a potentially confusing one and I honestly didn’t want to waste any more time on it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    2.5 stars The Girl Behind the Red Rope was a bit of a disappointment for me. I've read most of Ted Dekker's previous stories and loved many of them; unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me. Even though I wasn't a fan of the story overall, there were things I enjoyed. I found the MC to be a likable character and I loved how heroic she was at times (I won't say how, since that would be a spoiler). I also liked the writing style - it was easy to read and held my attention. 2.5 stars The Girl Behind the Red Rope was a bit of a disappointment for me. I've read most of Ted Dekker's previous stories and loved many of them; unfortunately, this one just wasn't for me. Even though I wasn't a fan of the story overall, there were things I enjoyed. I found the MC to be a likable character and I loved how heroic she was at times (I won't say how, since that would be a spoiler). I also liked the writing style - it was easy to read and held my attention. I didn't like the supernatural elements or the whole "cult" part of the story. It was just too weird for me and I felt uncomfortable at times. All in all, The Girl Behind the Red Rope wasn't for me. *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

  4. 4 out of 5

    Josie Siler

    It pains me to say that I was disappointed by this book. I gave it four stars because if you haven’t read Ted’s recent books, you’ll love it. It’s a good story, but it’s already been told. What I love about Ted Dekker books are the twists, turns, and surprises. But I wasn’t surprised when I read this book. I knew right where it was heading and what the message would be and that was so disappointing, even though it was a good story with a great message. Perhaps my love of Dekker books has finally It pains me to say that I was disappointed by this book. I gave it four stars because if you haven’t read Ted’s recent books, you’ll love it. It’s a good story, but it’s already been told. What I love about Ted Dekker books are the twists, turns, and surprises. But I wasn’t surprised when I read this book. I knew right where it was heading and what the message would be and that was so disappointing, even though it was a good story with a great message. Perhaps my love of Dekker books has finally gotten the best of me. Perhaps I know the author’s mind too well - now that’s scary! I’ve really enjoyed Rachelle’s books and thought I would see more of her voice in this book. Overall a good book for Dekker newbies, but disappointing for this longtime fan.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    The Girl Behind the Red Rope is a new mystery/suspense novel by bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker (Ted's daughter). This is the first book I've read by either author, though I have heard of Ted Dekker, and it is, as I would describe, primarily allegory with a hint of dystopian fiction that delves into the spiritual realm and the concepts of living in fear and a false sense of security rather than in love and the true freedom that Christ offers. While The Girl Behind the R The Girl Behind the Red Rope is a new mystery/suspense novel by bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker (Ted's daughter). This is the first book I've read by either author, though I have heard of Ted Dekker, and it is, as I would describe, primarily allegory with a hint of dystopian fiction that delves into the spiritual realm and the concepts of living in fear and a false sense of security rather than in love and the true freedom that Christ offers. While The Girl Behind the Red Rope was an intriguing story insofar as I wanted to keep reading and see how it turned out, at the same time it didn't strike me as particularly interesting, nor illuminating. This was in part due to rather dull characters and a very predictable plot (because mystery and suspense is apparently Dekker's forte, I was disappointed that there wasn't a single surprising plot twist in this book, which was one of the reasons I kept reading, as mentioned above!). To me, there wasn't enough to the story, or character development, for a full-length novel; it seemed redundant and drawn out—perhaps the Christian allegorical aspect of darkness versus light is just too familiar, and overall it seems too similar to other stories, like The Village, to have much life of its own. On a deeper note, while I appreciated the unique discussion through story about how our fears can control us even unknowingly and how we as believers have supernatural power to overcome them, from a theological perspective, this book often seems to confuse rather than clarify issues (including some that are "mysteries" of Scripture and doctrine), such as the Law and grace, natural versus moral evil, angels and demons, cults and "religion" versus Christianity, and even Biblical meaning and context, like what it means to be "born again." The cult society in the story is misleading itself because their religious rules are based on frequently-mentioned verses and Biblical principles (but also, I would posit, man-made rules according to false teachers and "prophets"), and there isn't clear distinction or explanation about the foundational Truth of the Bible (always true) and embracing grace and freedom while living in obedience and righteousness (not mutually exclusive), versus false, sinful, "wrong," or taking something out of context or to wrong extremes (legalism, etc.). The Girl Behind the Red Rope is, admittedly, fast-paced and comes across as mysterious, even though it doesn't actually contain much mystery or even suspense, in my opinion. Sadly, though the premise sounds fascinating and the potential deeper meaning, promising, I would hesitate to recommend this book—as a story, it feels underdeveloped, and as an allegory, it muddies the waters. (Content note: some violence and disturbing imagery, as well as brief, PG references to marital intimacy.) Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. Note as with all reviews and references, I do not necessarily agree with (or am even aware of) any or all of the beliefs, views, etc. of the author; please read my disclaimer here

  6. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    (This review will be on my blog All the Ups and Downs soon.) -- I'm a fan of dystopian novels, so when I heard about The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker, I knew it was a book that I just had to read sooner rather than later. Everything about the synopsis was calling out my name. Luckily, this book lived up to the hype. As I stated previously, the synopsis of The Girl Behind the Red Rope definitely left me intrigued. Grace has seen what not following her (This review will be on my blog All the Ups and Downs soon.) -- I'm a fan of dystopian novels, so when I heard about The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker, I knew it was a book that I just had to read sooner rather than later. Everything about the synopsis was calling out my name. Luckily, this book lived up to the hype. As I stated previously, the synopsis of The Girl Behind the Red Rope definitely left me intrigued. Grace has seen what not following her religious community's strict rules can bring. However, when a young boy makes his way into their tight community, Grace begins to question everything she's been taught which puts her in extreme danger. Everything flowed so smoothly including the pacing which never let me down. I was constantly finding excuses to finish reading The Girl Behind the Red Rope since I had to know what would happen next. While I felt the plot was predictable more often than not, I still really enjoyed this book. I felt like their were no cliff hangers, and all of my questions were answered by the ending. As for the Christian aspect of this book, it didn't read like a Christian novel most of the way through. I'd say it was probably around the last quarter of the book where Christianity came into play. I didn't think it was overly preachy although I think that those who aren't very spiritual or who are agnostic or are atheist may feel it's a tad on the preachy side. I would say The Girl Behind the Red Rope is more anti-religion and pro-Christianity overall. That's what I took from it anyway. It does have a really good message regarding love though which I found really nice to read about. I very much enjoyed how every character in The Girl Behind the Red Rope was written. I felt like I was actually part of their world, stuck in the same community with them. Grace is a very likable character. I loved how the characters made her feel like a real person by giving her the conflicting thoughts as to who was to be believed throughout the novel. I enjoyed Grace's thought process about everything throughout the book. While I knew who and what she should choose, it was easy to see why she was so torn. Bobbie and Sylous were both very intriguing characters. I never trusted Sylous from the start, but Bobbie was one character that I wasn't sure if she actually had Grace's best interest at heart or if she had ulterior motives. There were times I despised Rose, not because she wasn't written poorly, in fact, she was written perfectly, but because of how much trust she put into Sylous and how overly judgmental she could be sometimes. I know that Rose was only going on what she thought to be true, but there were just so many times I wanted Rose to disappear! My favorite character was Eli. I loved his innocence and how happy go lucky he was. Trigger warnings for The Girl Behind the Red Rope include cult mentality, violence, and murder. All in all, The Girl Behind the Red Rope is such a fantastic read with such a powerful message. The characters are written beautifully, and the plot is done superbly. I would definitely recommend The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker to those aged 15+. Christians will definitely enjoy this book, but I think even non-Christians will probably love it as well.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jypsy

    Thank you to Revell and the authors for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own. The Girl Behind The Red Rope By: Ted Dekker & Rachelle Dekker *REVIEW* 🌻🌻🌻🌻 I didn't know exactly what to expect from this book. More faith or fiction based? I'm not a huge fan of books that are heavy on faith, but The Girl Behind The Red Rope turned out to be a good mix of belief and fiction. A religious cult living deep in the woods behind a literal red rope, and a girl who truly wonders w Thank you to Revell and the authors for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own. The Girl Behind The Red Rope By: Ted Dekker & Rachelle Dekker *REVIEW* 🌻🌻🌻🌻 I didn't know exactly what to expect from this book. More faith or fiction based? I'm not a huge fan of books that are heavy on faith, but The Girl Behind The Red Rope turned out to be a good mix of belief and fiction. A religious cult living deep in the woods behind a literal red rope, and a girl who truly wonders what will happen if you cross the rope form the story. The rules of the cult say that on the other side the fury/evil will kill/consume you. The question is from where or whom these ideas came in the first place, and are these rules either inherently good or evil at their core? These people blindly believe whatever they are told, and their fears about whatever might be out there keep them rooted in this weird cult mentality. Is it better to embrace the fear and cross the red rope or live with fear in this place for the rest of your life? Not crossing seems to suggest that evil is in charge because it's the lack of faith that keeps someone from leaving. But, you can also argue that a higher power is keeping these people safe from some terrible evil on the outside by confining them within the rope boundary. It's a guessing game, and it's compelling because the answer is not clear, at least not to me. It's a weird story, but it moves at a good pace and is well written. There are more twists and turns than I expected, and I was intrigued all the way to the end. Overall, it's a unique read with an underlying faith ideal. It's the kind of story that you'll either like or hate because it's not for everyone, and issues of faith seem to be polarizing most of the time. If it seems like a good premise to you, then I would definitely try it at least. You never know, right?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Evil is cunning and lurks in the places you’d least expect it. This is a great book that pits us against our own human frailties. When fear becomes your constant companion what lengths will you go to in order to feel safe? This book was thought-provoking and I found myself contemplating the concept of religious rules verses the message of love. Do I conduct myself according to my perceived fears or do I seek truth? Haven Valley has separated itself from the rest of the world in anti Evil is cunning and lurks in the places you’d least expect it. This is a great book that pits us against our own human frailties. When fear becomes your constant companion what lengths will you go to in order to feel safe? This book was thought-provoking and I found myself contemplating the concept of religious rules verses the message of love. Do I conduct myself according to my perceived fears or do I seek truth? Haven Valley has separated itself from the rest of the world in anticipation of a cleansing that is to come in the form of the Fury. The community adheres to strict religious rules, hoping that by doing so they will avoid the retribution that is to come. They live in fear that they will not be holy enough, and the fear increases when they find out one of their own has been going beyond the red rope perimeter. When a young boy from outside shows up in their town, innocent and fearless at the same time, they can’t see the love that radiates from him. All they see is their own fear. Is the boy an angel? A demon? Or is he something else? Grace must face these questions and more when she is caught in the middle of the battle between good and evil. Where will deception end and truth begin? As tension behind the red rope increases, the citizens must each examine themselves and decide what to believe. Choices must soon be made that will determine the future. Will the people of Haven Valley find freedom in their perceived faithfulness? Or will their choices hold them in bondage? How far will the people go to protect their way of life? A gripping story that had me examining myself, holding my breath and guessing to the end. I highly recommend this book. I received a copy of this book courtesy of Baker Publishing Group group through Interviews and Reviews. This is my honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Trying not to get excited for this, considering the latest mess that was Ted's Mystic books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker kept me turning pages for less than two days. If I didn't need the sleep, I would have liked to have read this 330-page book straight through! Grace, her brother Jamie, and her mother all live in a tight-knit religious community hidden in the hills of Tennessee. Ten years ago, Grace and her family saw a terrible scourge unleashed on the world. However, as members of the select few that were set apart, they were kept The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted Dekker and Rachelle Dekker kept me turning pages for less than two days. If I didn't need the sleep, I would have liked to have read this 330-page book straight through! Grace, her brother Jamie, and her mother all live in a tight-knit religious community hidden in the hills of Tennessee. Ten years ago, Grace and her family saw a terrible scourge unleashed on the world. However, as members of the select few that were set apart, they were kept safe and secure from the rest of the world--as long as they stay behind the red rope. They all did for many years--until Grace's brother begins to have his doubts doubts about things. Around the same time, Grace's dad shows up along with a young boy whom he claims is also Grace's brother--and he asks her to keep him safe. All of this leads Grace to question her whole life and wonder who the real enemy is? The Girl Behind the Red Rope was a fast paced page turner for me. I found the struggle between fear and faith throughout this book to be fascinating. I just couldn't take my eyes off of the struggle. I don't know what it is like to be in a cult, but I do understand what it is like to struggle with fear. I could see how people could be controlled and bound by their fears through a cult leader--and how the cult leader could also be bound by evil. I just felt like I was living in this story right alongside Grace. The Girl Behind the Red Rope is beautifully written with a lot of depth, just as the cover is a beautiful illustration with depth to the picture. I think I will be pondering this book for some time. There were a couple of little things I didn't quite understand at the end that I am thinking about, but I don't want to give away any spoilers, and I like that they make me think about the story. If you are a Dekker fan, I am sure you will give this book a try. However, even if you are not a regular Dekker reader, I would recommend The Girl Behind the Red Rope if you like Christian suspense novels. I received this book from the publisher through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    "The biggest lie is that fear will keep you safe in the darkness, but fear is the darkness." Tucked deep within the forested hills of Tennessee lies a small religious community, seemingly protected from the darkness without, marked by a simple perimeter. Its residents live by an undemanding creed; embrace the safety bestowed upon them behind the red rope or face the furies of hell itself which roam boundlessly beyond. And how do they know this? From a single prophecy, delivered from t "The biggest lie is that fear will keep you safe in the darkness, but fear is the darkness." Tucked deep within the forested hills of Tennessee lies a small religious community, seemingly protected from the darkness without, marked by a simple perimeter. Its residents live by an undemanding creed; embrace the safety bestowed upon them behind the red rope or face the furies of hell itself which roam boundlessly beyond. And how do they know this? From a single prophecy, delivered from the lips of an angel of light, thirteen years ago. Two incidents tilt the tightly wound balance of existence in Haven Valley; Grace and her brother Jamie dare to breach the boundary while two outsiders, Ben and Eli, dare to venture in. As accusations abound, Grace struggles to discern the truth between what has always been and what life without fear could be. Does "light without darkness" actually exist? The "Girl Behind the Red Rope" is rather difficult to contain; no one will doubt its beautiful cadence, and incessant theological clues leading straight to its core. Analogous, metaphorical, slightly fantastical, . . . . dark, insidious, foreboding. Rather than trying to over analyze its meaning, relax and let the story carry you to a nearly perfect ending, assuring its readers that perfect love does indeed cast out all fear. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jes Drew

    This book began as a Ted Dekker and ended as a Rachelle Dekker. You'll have to read all of the above to understand what I'm saying. Anyway, this story was extremely chilling in every way. Young girl grows up in a cult-like environment run by a mysterious entity hidden in the woods to be protected by entities of darkness consuming the souls of those living outside the protective red rope. And there are a few other entities that leave you wondering if they're angel or demon. Oh, and our This book began as a Ted Dekker and ended as a Rachelle Dekker. You'll have to read all of the above to understand what I'm saying. Anyway, this story was extremely chilling in every way. Young girl grows up in a cult-like environment run by a mysterious entity hidden in the woods to be protected by entities of darkness consuming the souls of those living outside the protective red rope. And there are a few other entities that leave you wondering if they're angel or demon. Oh, and our heroine is nineteen and married to a dude in his forties. So, yeah, creepy on every level. I can't really go much more into it, except to say I was guessing what everything could be throughout the book, and I was wrong at the end. Also, for those who might be looking for it, this book is most definitely not a romance. And for those who didn't read the second paragraph and figure it out themselves, don't read it right before bed. You have been warned. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, and the opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    When Jamie and Grace were young, an angel came down to their church to tell them that they would be taken with everyone in the room to a Heaven on earth while the earth was being destroyed to live during the last days. Now that they are older, can they trust this entity or is there something sinister lurking? Read on and find out for yourself. This was a pretty good dark fantasy thriller Christian novel. If you like these types of reads, be sure to check this book out at your local li When Jamie and Grace were young, an angel came down to their church to tell them that they would be taken with everyone in the room to a Heaven on earth while the earth was being destroyed to live during the last days. Now that they are older, can they trust this entity or is there something sinister lurking? Read on and find out for yourself. This was a pretty good dark fantasy thriller Christian novel. If you like these types of reads, be sure to check this book out at your local library and wherever books are sold.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Suzie Waltner

    3.5 stars The first time I saw this intriguing book cover with the names Ted and Rachelle Dekker printed on it, it went on my TBR list. While this read hits on spiritual truths and the spiritual realm, The Girl Behind the Red Rope didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The plat was fairly predictable with the characters fitting neatly into their roles to reach the conclusion clearly laid out. I expected at least a couple of gotcha moments from Ted Dekker but they never ha 3.5 stars The first time I saw this intriguing book cover with the names Ted and Rachelle Dekker printed on it, it went on my TBR list. While this read hits on spiritual truths and the spiritual realm, The Girl Behind the Red Rope didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The plat was fairly predictable with the characters fitting neatly into their roles to reach the conclusion clearly laid out. I expected at least a couple of gotcha moments from Ted Dekker but they never happened. However, the book is well written and takes a hard look at where people find their security? Have we become so comfortable and secure in our current situation, we fear stepping out in faith to discover what God may have waiting for us beyond that? If you’ve not read anything from either of the Dekkers, this is a good place to start as it will give new readers a taste of this father/daughter team. Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    I considered not finishing this book, but rarely do that. I kind of wish that I would have have grabbed something else to read. The characters were very bland and boring. In addition, the main character was really annoying. The story could have gone in a few directions, but I am not convinced that it went in the right one! This was definitely not my cup of tea.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Starr

    Guys, this makes me so sad to say. But this was probably the most disappointing book of the year for me. At least so far. Here's why. I love Ted Dekker. I consider him one of my favorite authors, one that I felt comfortable enough to buy without knowing much about it. I was given the chance to review, and I was so excited - I didn't know to expect another Dekker book. Because of my excitement, I think I went in expecting so much more than what I got. Granted, this is co-written with his daughter Guys, this makes me so sad to say. But this was probably the most disappointing book of the year for me. At least so far. Here's why. I love Ted Dekker. I consider him one of my favorite authors, one that I felt comfortable enough to buy without knowing much about it. I was given the chance to review, and I was so excited - I didn't know to expect another Dekker book. Because of my excitement, I think I went in expecting so much more than what I got. Granted, this is co-written with his daughter, would it be wrong to blame it on her? Other than that, this was a decent story. A young who grows up in cult like environment, only to discover that she is on the wrong side of Truth. Helping her brother go outside the perimeter starts events that leads her to being open to really seeing and ultimately changing her community. Spiritual warfare manifested in the physical world. This may be one that I come back to, once I can read it with realistic expectations and see if I rate it the same.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rayleigh

    How well can you recognize a false preaching? If it’s done in “God’s name”, is that truly enough to believe and obey it? The Girl Behind the Red Rope is another incredible tale written by the master of suspense: Ted Dekker, accompanied this time, by his daughter Rachelle Dekker. And I have to say, I pounced on the book without even reading what it’s about. I’ve been waiting for another Dekker book for a while, and this cover alone is enough to promise excitement. I also really enjoyed How well can you recognize a false preaching? If it’s done in “God’s name”, is that truly enough to believe and obey it? The Girl Behind the Red Rope is another incredible tale written by the master of suspense: Ted Dekker, accompanied this time, by his daughter Rachelle Dekker. And I have to say, I pounced on the book without even reading what it’s about. I’ve been waiting for another Dekker book for a while, and this cover alone is enough to promise excitement. I also really enjoyed Rachelle’s series when they came out, so I was excited to see she had teamed up with her father! The synopsis is very vague so I wasn’t sure what I would encounter within the pages of this suspense novel. Is it an end of the world novel? Based on Revelations? What could The Girl Behind the Red Rope actually be? I had no idea until I finally turned the pages. What was inside surprised me. A book about Grace; literally and figuratively…God’s grace, and a girl named Grace. But more than that, it’s about the battles between love and fear. How crippling and binding fear can be in our lives, and how powerful and freeing God’s unconditional love is! It’s a book that speaks out against false preaching and false gospels, all the while creating a story that twists around corners and presents scenarios both chilling and inspiring. I have always loved Dekker’s books because though his stories are phenomenal, there is always a deeper meaning and message that can be found throughout his stories. The Girl Behind the Red Rope was no exception! But what surprised me was how docile the suspense was and how clear and loud the message was, as compared to previous Dekker books. This book didn’t baffle me near to any extent as the Outlaw Chronicles had, for example, though it did remind me of Water Walker (2nd book in the Outlaw series) to a certain degree. I didn’t experience the same aghast or helpless feelings that I have grown to expect in selecting a book by Ted Dekker, and I actually found much of the plot to be predictable…something I never thought I’d say about a Dekker book! But, the story was enthralling! Dealing with spiritual warfare in a hidden valley in Tennessee with people who believe the world has ended? It was an exciting read no doubt! It just fell a little short of my expectations in the suspense and surprise department. So, overall, I give The Girl Behind the Red Rope 4 out of 5 stars and do recommend it as a great story with a powerful message, just be warned that it’s not quite as intense as some of his other books. There is a good deal of emotional suspense, terrifying creatures, and action that results in mild descriptions of wounds and death. There is no sexual content, though there are mentions of a wife attending her husband’s house for scheduled meetings to conceive a child (part of their culture), though nothing is shown or spoken about in any detail. There is no distasteful language either. I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own. This is a LiteratureApproved.com Review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kav

    What a formidable father/daughter duo! All that creativity and talent meshing together to create something indefinable. And hard to classify. Speculative Fiction is the closest I can get. Not quite Dystopian, though there are Dystopian elements to this story. And there's too much realism to consider it Fantasy, I think the Dekkers might have to start their own genre. :-) My brain is still kinda cafuzzled after completing this read. There were times I had absolutely no idea what was go What a formidable father/daughter duo! All that creativity and talent meshing together to create something indefinable. And hard to classify. Speculative Fiction is the closest I can get. Not quite Dystopian, though there are Dystopian elements to this story. And there's too much realism to consider it Fantasy, I think the Dekkers might have to start their own genre. :-) My brain is still kinda cafuzzled after completing this read. There were times I had absolutely no idea what was going on and other times where I made assumptions that were just plain wrong.So I think it's best to approach The Girl Behind the Red Rope with an open mind because nothing can really prepare you for the deep, rich layers that make up this compelling tale where truths abound -- sometimes uncomfortably so. And it is a hard book to review because I don't want to give anything away. But Grace's quest really resonated with me. I could see parallels in my own life to varying degrees and I love the way the authors carry their message through to a spectacular ending. Scary and hopeful and everything in between. Not a light read but a worthwhile one. And it would make a fantastic book club selection because there are so many talking points. You couldn't cover them all in one meeting! If you're in the mood for something edgy and different and utterly thought-provoking then this is definitely the book for you! Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Johnson

    While this book was somewhat out of my comfort zone, I wanted to read and review it because the plot sounded intriguing and the cover is really phenomenal! The beginning of this book really sucked me into the story and I was completely invested in the characters and where this plot was headed. The rigid rules of the cult and and vague and haunting descriptions of their fears about what lay outside their boundaries, really kept me eerily glued to the pages. However, I began to see that this novel While this book was somewhat out of my comfort zone, I wanted to read and review it because the plot sounded intriguing and the cover is really phenomenal! The beginning of this book really sucked me into the story and I was completely invested in the characters and where this plot was headed. The rigid rules of the cult and and vague and haunting descriptions of their fears about what lay outside their boundaries, really kept me eerily glued to the pages. However, I began to see that this novel, while being about a cult, also had a supernatural element to it that I was not expecting. I don't care for novels that involve supernatural things in regards to the plot, so this book really wasn't one that I enjoyed. I think that readers who don't mind this kind of a story line will enjoy this novel. The writing was well done and the pacing of the book was good. The descriptions and characters were written really well and you definitely feel the fear that encompasses those living within the boundary lines of this cult. If you are a Ted Dekker fan or a fan of stories with supernatural elements you will probably really enjoy this one.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    RATING: 2 STARS 201; Fleming H. Revell Company I have been wanting to read a book by Ted Dekker for awhile now. The synopsis on most of his novels sound like a great suspense thriller. I was given a chance to read this one before it was published and jumped at it without even reading the summary. This one is suspense, but I would characterize it more as Christian science fiction. I have read several books in both genres but is not my go-to books. This one had a creepy vibe to it, RATING: 2 STARS 201; Fleming H. Revell Company I have been wanting to read a book by Ted Dekker for awhile now. The synopsis on most of his novels sound like a great suspense thriller. I was given a chance to read this one before it was published and jumped at it without even reading the summary. This one is suspense, but I would characterize it more as Christian science fiction. I have read several books in both genres but is not my go-to books. This one had a creepy vibe to it, which I'm here for, but soon it went into skeevy as a dude creepy (for example, see quote above). This book reminds me a lot of the movie, The Village but not as suspenseful and engaging. This is one I forced myself to finish to see how it ended, and it was an okay ending. I think I am going to have to read a book by Karin Slaughter or Stephen King to cleanse my suspense/horror palate. I may not to be the intended reader for this novel, so I would take a look at a few reviews. ***I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER*** My Novelesque Blog

  21. 4 out of 5

    Yolanda Smith

    I will always love Ted Dekker because his books showed up at a time in my life when I needed the stories most. Having said that, this book was not my favorite by any stretch. Because I’ve read so many of Ted’s works this story was highly predictable. The theme, characters, and plot have already made an appearance in previous works. Ted and Rachelle are both fantastic writers, and this story is a fine piece of work in its own right, especially for anyone beginning their journey into the Dekker re I will always love Ted Dekker because his books showed up at a time in my life when I needed the stories most. Having said that, this book was not my favorite by any stretch. Because I’ve read so many of Ted’s works this story was highly predictable. The theme, characters, and plot have already made an appearance in previous works. Ted and Rachelle are both fantastic writers, and this story is a fine piece of work in its own right, especially for anyone beginning their journey into the Dekker realm, but I was hoping for something fresher. Recommend to established Dekker fans? Maybe Recommend to Dekker newbies? Definitely

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    I did not like Ted Dekker's recent books (i.e. The Mystic books) but I did like Rachelle Dekker's Seer trilogy, so I decided to give this book a try. Based on the previously mentioned books, I kind of knew what to expect: dystopian-ish setting, tangible evil (here- the Fury), a seductive evil person, a bunch of references to light and darkness, a Jesus-like child character who is either smiling, singing, or laughing, a green water experience, the seeming death of a 'savior'-type character, and a I did not like Ted Dekker's recent books (i.e. The Mystic books) but I did like Rachelle Dekker's Seer trilogy, so I decided to give this book a try. Based on the previously mentioned books, I kind of knew what to expect: dystopian-ish setting, tangible evil (here- the Fury), a seductive evil person, a bunch of references to light and darkness, a Jesus-like child character who is either smiling, singing, or laughing, a green water experience, the seeming death of a 'savior'-type character, and a supernatural showdown. It had all the elements, and though the characters had new names, and now there was a crazy cult and a red rope, the story read like nothing new to me. Really, it was entertaining to read until the last 40 pages or so. The Dekkers know how to create a suspenseful story to be sure, even if it's a 'remake', but sadly, Ted Dekker's writing has been more focused on this abstract theology than either a solid theological book (i.e. The Slumber of Christianity) or a thrill-focused book (i.e. Boneman's Daughters). I wish he would pick one or the other. I am very curious to know how someone who is not a Christian would read and view this story. Which leads me to ask- who were the Dekkers targeting in writing this? Christians who have become legalistic or focused on fear and obedience instead of truth and grace? People who have not met God and known the truth at all? I think the answer to that would better inform how I review this book. But since I don't have that, here are some of my observations. The theology Dekker has been touting is very abstract: 'we are light. light is love. love casts out fear. darkness can't threaten the light. you need to know who you are- light and love. open your eyes.' None of this is unbiblical. But if this is the only message you hear, there is no substance. There is no gospel. There is no 'object' of your faith. It leaves you with more questions than answers. Why are we light? Where is our hope? Why do we need it? What happens next? Maybe it's more 'beautiful' or poetic to just stay in the light/dark analogy, but you don't REALLY have the truth without Jesus, our sin nature, our need of a savior, Jesus' perfect atonement, and our subsequent gratitude and loving obedience. For example, "Yes, Jesus, who made a way for all to see and be who they are beyond their blindness. This is the only way to know yourself in and as the light. You don't let go of the world because it's bad. You let go because your attachment to your fear-based self blinds you to who you are as the light. Simple." is how it's described. I don't find an intuitive gospel message here. They say in the book that there is no death, just a passing. But there IS death. Death to self and our sinful desires. Death to our old life. It contradicts what Dekker says in his book, The Slumber of Christianity: "Our enemy has turned death into something to be feared and, by extension, swept under the rug. But when you sweep death under the rug, you will likely sweep the afterlife under the rug with it. By hiding death, you hide the afterlife, and by hiding the afterlife, you hide any hope you have in it." Sure, the 'don't fear death' message is the same. But he pleads here that if we don't see death for what it is, then the afterlife and the hope of eternal life is not our focus. And this story doesn't tell us what they are hoping in. The push of the story is that they don't need to fear. They need to love. But why? How do they know they don't need to fear? Who is their hope? What exactly are they escaping and accepting by rejecting fear? It's all very vague. The cult itself made me a little uncomfortable because it was supposedly based on Scripture and they called themselves Christians. I think the Dekkers are trying to shock Christians into recognizing the ways fear has taken control over parts of our lives or how we have watered down our faith to just be following a set of rules to obtain salvation. And I get that. And I suppose there really are cults in the world that probably claim to be Christians and claim to follow the Bible but operate similarly to this cult. But without detailing the full gospel message of Christianity it felt a little bit like they were battling the cult's ideals with another set of crazy cult ideals. Same with the manifestation of 'Wisdom.' They didn't reveal until later that it was wisdom *according to the world*. I kept struggling with that relationship and evaluating how it fit into the truth of the gospel and biblical wisdom. It might have been better to reveal that earlier, but I suppose that was a revelation meant to be hidden until the end. (Kudos if you made it this far.) Knowing where to land on this book is a challenge. I'm a soft 3 stars right now. Because we absolutely need to battle the clutches of fear that has infiltrated our faith. Some form of 'Do not be afraid' is repeated over and over again the Bible- so God knew we would struggle with this. And I agree that the devil uses fear to draw us away from the truth of who God is and what Jesus has done. Amen and amen. And absolutely let's fight against the legalism of faith + works = salvation and the idea that all you need to do to be 'pure' is follow a bunch of rules and rituals. Again, amen and amen. But the gospel message was missing. And that's fine for a novel, I don't expect this in every Christian book, but if they're going to spend so much time on the light/dark analogy of faith and truth, than it's not so out of the realm to give a little more substance to their theology. And there is a place for obedience. The Bible talks a lot about obedience. We can't biblically rid ourselves of it. We just need to approach it the correct way. SO, lower rating due to the vague and abstract theology. But also because of the all-too-familiar plot line. The title and book cover and the co-authoring with Rachelle, led me to hope that this book would read more like his stand alone thrillers but was disappointingly carried out like another branch of his 'Mystic' series. Sidenote: I was reflecting on Ted Dekker's book, The Slumber of Christianity, and it is a really convicting and rich book that calls out complacent Christians. I hope that he finds his way out of these abstract, borderline universalism analogies and gets back to his theology that says, "The fact is, nothing in this life can satisfy unless it is fully bathed in an obsession for eternity. Nothing. Not a purpose-driven life, not a grand adventure, not the love of a dashing prince or the hand of a beautiful maiden... Not our religion our faith, or any version of Christianity less focused on the prize that awaits." Or "We have been granted our inheritance as a matter of God's grace, not through any work we have done. Heaven is a gift to us. The enemy may make our lives quite miserable by robbing us of hope and rubbing our noses in sin, but when our eighty or so years on this earth end, we will see that his strategy has failed and we, the true followers of Christ, will only laugh at his desperate ploys." Or "No matter how man will find pleasure within its fears and contrive usefulness from its gadgets, the machine of life is destined to lie in darkness unless fueled by the pearl of great hope. But powered by that fuel, the great machine will awaken with a thunder and fill the heart with an inexhaustible awe. Happy is the man who finds this pearl of great price." Ted Dekker has the ability to speak the gospel in a rich and beautiful way, I've read it. But this new way of describing it is not, I believe, doing what he thinks it's doing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Urban

    The Girl Behind the Red Rope is a deep read. One that shows how easily human beings can be deceived and betrayed. There is a lot of loss, uncertainty, and suspense built into this book. A small religious community is taken to believing something that's not real at all. One young woman seeks out to find the truth. At first, she was blinded by her community and believed what they did. It was almost as thought none of them had a single thought that would have questioned what they were told. A flock The Girl Behind the Red Rope is a deep read. One that shows how easily human beings can be deceived and betrayed. There is a lot of loss, uncertainty, and suspense built into this book. A small religious community is taken to believing something that's not real at all. One young woman seeks out to find the truth. At first, she was blinded by her community and believed what they did. It was almost as thought none of them had a single thought that would have questioned what they were told. A flock of sheep headed into darkness. Things kept on boiling to the point to where there was no return. Finding the truth would set them all free. But the cast had to discover exactly what was the truth. Overall, it was a great tale. I recommend it to all.  I received this copy from the publisher. This is my voluntary review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nay Denise

    5⭐ read!!! I am officially a fan of Ted Dekker and plan to read more of his work as of next month. This book ripped my heart in a beautiful way. The use of scripture. The faith elements. The understanding of fear... Such a phenomenal read. Definitely rereading this book soon!! Full review to come soon... ----------------- Received a copy for review from the publisher. I am so excited that I have finally read a Ted Dekker book. I'm even more excited that I started with his new release. Thi/>Received 5⭐ read!!! I am officially a fan of Ted Dekker and plan to read more of his work as of next month.⁣ ⁣ This book ripped my heart in a beautiful way. The use of scripture. The faith elements. The understanding of fear...⁣ ⁣ Such a phenomenal read. Definitely rereading this book soon!!⁣ ⁣ Full review to come soon... ----------------- Received a copy for review from the publisher. I am so excited that I have finally read a Ted Dekker book. I'm even more excited that I started with his new release. This was absolute amazing read for me. I had to speed through it so I didn't get the chance to fully enjoy the reading experience, but it was still awesome.  The writing was amazing. I loved the way each character was written. I enjoyed the world building. I could picture myself in Haven Valley and in the forest. I could see the world destroyed. I was excited to be pulled into the story. Each interaction between characters and even their personal thoughts pulled me deeper each turn of the page. The faith elements were so phenomenal! I loved the breakdown of fear and darkness verses love and light. I got some awesome nuggets to take away and apply to my own life. Grace is a "good" girl who tries to live by the rules and ways of her community. She doesn't like to disobey or lie. She gets caught up in her brother's scheme and things take a turn for her. Grace is a quiet girl on the surface, but on the inside she battles with understanding the truth. I enjoyed seeing the two sides to her. She was a nervous, "well behaved" girl who obeyes to a T at the beginning. By the end she was bold and stepped out in faith on truth. She began to believe in herself and think for herself rather than what the leaders of her community thought. Jamie was an awesome character at first. He believed in truth and thought for himself. Not until a chance encounter happens that he begins to doubt and become corrupted. He was the complete opposite of Grace in many ways. He started off awesome and ended terribly. Seeing him change was an eye opening experience.  Rose, the leader of Haven Valley, was absolutely the most A N N O Y I N G character. I felt bad for how foolish and susceptible she was to the darkness. She's an example of a wounded person looking for to be protected by the wrong things. I did like her end though. The people of Haven Valley community were so lost and confused. I did not like how they succumbed to the sayings of Rose so easily. Sylous was a scoundrel!!! His role was played perfectly well. Devil in disguise that could use the scriptures for his own gain. Sylous was an evil being. He was awesome at his job. Eli was such an adorable kid!! I loved who he represented and how excellently he was written. Eli was a brave and humble kid. He was all about sharing truth and love. He was an amazing asset to the story and growth to Grace. Overall, I loved this book. It gave me faith elements and supernatural vibes. I loved this and it's my first ever Christian suspense. Definitely a recommendation from me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ceci

    Liked/Disliked Liked: Wow, I really enjoyed the whole premise of the book. I really didn't know what to expect going in because the summary was a little confusing. But wow, did it blow me away. How our fear can blind us and yeah. The setting and descriptions of the way they lived their life in Haven Valley were really good. It was a great idea and amazing execution by this father/daughter duo. Liked: Those characters thooooo! Oh man, each character had their traits that made them defi Liked/Disliked Liked: Wow, I really enjoyed the whole premise of the book. I really didn't know what to expect going in because the summary was a little confusing. But wow, did it blow me away. How our fear can blind us and yeah. The setting and descriptions of the way they lived their life in Haven Valley were really good. It was a great idea and amazing execution by this father/daughter duo. Liked: Those characters thooooo! Oh man, each character had their traits that made them definable and human-like. While the first-person parts are Grace, you don't have much trouble recognizing the other characters. The antagonist was chilling and the rest of the characters were relatable. And when some characters did certain things that were either good or bad, you really felt for them and sympathized. The authors made even the so-called "bad" guys sympathizable. You never really hated a character (no matter how much you were tempted to) because you understood why they were doing that thing, and I really liked that. Liked: I feel like this book had more plot twists than The Last Jedi. And that had a lot of plot twists. You really had to think on your feet for the entirety of this story. As soon as you thought you knew who someone was, it turned out that you were wrong. I really liked that, because right before this, I had been reading several mysteries so I was on my game y'all. But yes, this is a story that will leave you guessing till the end. Disliked: There were some things that were rather confusing and were never really cleared up? Like, who exactly was Eli? Was he Grace's adopted brother or not? And yeah. Just a few things that had me scratching my head even when I finished. I thought that this was really great but reading other people's reviews, apparently, this isn't Ted Dekker's best work. I would love to read his really great work if this was considered so-so. Final Thoughts A big question in this book (I'll get to the second one in a moment) is the question: Are only a select few saved? Do only a few people get to go to heaven? There is a common misconception that Catholics believe that only Catholics get to go to heaven. I say misconception because we don't believe that. In fact, I overheard a conversation and one person said, "Yeah, Catholics believe that only they get to go to heaven" and I thought, "We do?" There is not a select number of people who get to go to heaven. We can all attain heaven. God wants us ALL to go to heaven because He loves us. Just because we belong to a certain religion does not guarantee a pass into heaven. While Baptism washes away our original sin, we are human, and so cannot help but sin and have to confess in order to purify ourselves. This ties into my next point, the community of Haven Valley were trying to purify themselves without the help of God, and that is just laughable. It's impossible. We cannot attain a state of holiness that is required to enter into heaven through our own force of will. We need God's grace, because we are just mere men. And the Sacraments are an amazing way of receiving grace. When we receive Holy Communion, we have Christ in us. If that doesn't bring us amazing grace, I don't know what does. The second big thing in this book is the question: Is God a God of fear or of love? The people of Haven Valley forgot that God is also a God of love and focused a lot on the fear. They kept saying "God's love" but they didn't remember the true meaning. Yes, we should fear God, but we shouldn't fear Him so much that forget His beautiful mercy and love. Content/Warnings One couple is a 19-year-old girl and 40-year-old man and it's implied that he desired her so they gave her to him as a wife. The "religion" of Haven Valley is no religion, but a cult. There are some people dying and getting beat up. Rating/Age I would recommend this for people ages 14+ And I'm giving this one 4.5 stars. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion from Revell Reads.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Bridgewater

    Fear is something that encapsulates everyone and everything. Ted and Rachelle Dekker have written a fascinating novel with The Girl Behind the Red Rope covering this exact topic. What have we allowed fear to cover that doesn't allow us to fully embrace God's love? I know we all have little vises, whether we admit them or not. The plot of this novel starts with a cult feeling like Tosca Lee's latest series The Line Between and A Single Light but it goes into a totally different direction. The pl Fear is something that encapsulates everyone and everything. Ted and Rachelle Dekker have written a fascinating novel with The Girl Behind the Red Rope covering this exact topic. What have we allowed fear to cover that doesn't allow us to fully embrace God's love? I know we all have little vises, whether we admit them or not. The plot of this novel starts with a cult feeling like Tosca Lee's latest series The Line Between and A Single Light but it goes into a totally different direction. The plot moves along at a rapid pace and captured my attention. I had some ideas about Bonnie and Rose so that didn't come as a surprise to me. Why the story is listed as a suspense novel is beyond me? A thriller. Yes. The definition of a thriller is something about to destroy humanity and this entire novel is based on the fear on the unknown and fear of not being good enough to earn heaven. Even though I believe the novel is labeled as the wrong genre, I don't think it takes away from the strong message the Dekker's are trying to portray to the reader. It is strong and makes me ponder. I journaled about the idea of fear and probably will go back and do a Bible study on the Light of God. Seems interesting to me. Overall, The Girl Behind the Red Rope is a wonderful parable story for today's readers. It was well-written and filled with truth. Just like Jesus would have done in his day. A good book for the church to pick up and read. Definitely something I will be passing on. I received a complimentary copy of The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Ted and Rachelle Dekker from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    "To say you need protected from the darkness only empowers the darkness as a threat". This book is so powerful. The quote above is one of many that I found myself jotting down to go back to as I formulated this review. But the quote above, I feel, sums up the book nicely. The darkness only has power if we say it does. Because we are light, and where there is light, darkness cannot exist. Light does not need protection from darkness. The Girl Behind the Red Rope is faith-shaking in the same way t "To say you need protected from the darkness only empowers the darkness as a threat". This book is so powerful. The quote above is one of many that I found myself jotting down to go back to as I formulated this review. But the quote above, I feel, sums up the book nicely. The darkness only has power if we say it does. Because we are light, and where there is light, darkness cannot exist. Light does not need protection from darkness. The Girl Behind the Red Rope is faith-shaking in the same way that Dekker's recent Mystic series was. I read an early review that said "Dekker writes faith vs. religion, and people aren't going to like that", and that is precisely the point of the whole book! We get so caught up in "religion" that we forget what faith is. What is "religion" anyway? It is something man made up. It is divisive, when all could be striving toward the same goal. Dekker approaches this in a tangible way that is both easy to understand and is incredibly impactful. I will say that there was a little bit of slowness and repetition in the middle of the book, but from the climactic point onward, it is phenomenal. As a long-time reader of Ted Dekker, I can see a definite blending of voices of Rachelle and Ted, and I always feel that there is a little awkwardness in co-authored books, but I feel like at some point around the 30% mark, they hit their stride and it becomes very hard to put it down.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Haven Valley is a religious cult, separated from the outside world by a red rope thought to keep the evil fury out. Jamie begins to doubt that the fury exists and wonders beyond the red rope with the help of his sister Grace. Forced to be cast out or repent they must commit to their faith now more than ever, but a series of events, including two strangers entering their town causes a whirlwind of changes to Haven Valley. Without providing any spoilers, the message is paramount in today's world. Haven Valley is a religious cult, separated from the outside world by a red rope thought to keep the evil fury out. Jamie begins to doubt that the fury exists and wonders beyond the red rope with the help of his sister Grace. Forced to be cast out or repent they must commit to their faith now more than ever, but a series of events, including two strangers entering their town causes a whirlwind of changes to Haven Valley. Without providing any spoilers, the message is paramount in today's world. However, the rough storyline has already been down by Dekker in his "Beyond the Circle" series. The idea of the light and religious cult are reused from his other works. Daughter, Rachel Dekker, provides a much needed refresh as she appears to tone down her father's fantastical genre insertions, but overall it was too similar to works he's already done. *Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    2 1/2 stars In a lot of ways, this story reminded me of the film, The VIllage, which was a movie that I loved. A group of people living off the grid to avoid the terrifying Furies that are lurking outside the red rope that circles the perimeter of the compound.  I enjoyed the story but for some reason I had a difficult time connecting with the characters. I've found that fictional stories about spiritual warfare can be difficult to pull off. I didn't find this one to be wel 2 1/2 stars In a lot of ways, this story reminded me of the film, The VIllage, which was a movie that I loved. A group of people living off the grid to avoid the terrifying Furies that are lurking outside the red rope that circles the perimeter of the compound.  I enjoyed the story but for some reason I had a difficult time connecting with the characters. I've found that fictional stories about spiritual warfare can be difficult to pull off. I didn't find this one to be well done. I loved the atmospheric quality to the story but the plot was somewhat lacking.  Overall, this was a book that I was not bored by but I wasn't a huge fan of it.  I received this book from the publisher to read and review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Signe

    This was not at all what I expected it to be. I have not read any previous books by the Dekker family. I nearly stopped reading it about 50 pages in due to the skeletal writing method. A great deal of willingness to suspend disbelief is required. The writing style will please those who want action to flow in as few words as possible. And that may very well be the best formula for an allegorical tale that is really about two paths: love and fear. I did not expect the book to be a quasi Christiani This was not at all what I expected it to be. I have not read any previous books by the Dekker family. I nearly stopped reading it about 50 pages in due to the skeletal writing method. A great deal of willingness to suspend disbelief is required. The writing style will please those who want action to flow in as few words as possible. And that may very well be the best formula for an allegorical tale that is really about two paths: love and fear. I did not expect the book to be a quasi Christianity based story, so when the book opens with a religious sect hiding out in the Tennessee woods, I thought it would end up being a showcase for all the reasons Christians are horrible. It isn't. The book is about humanity and how we respond to fear, how fear is instilled in us, how it is passed from generation to generation, how our physical self generates it to survive in this world. The answer is from the New Testament, that perfect love casts out fear. At this point, philosophically or theologically, "The Girl Behind the Red Rope" gets pretty soft as it is not clear how to suddenly change one's mind from fear to love and then live out the remainder of one's life in that state. This is an allegory, so the authors are showing a universal type truth with a few sketches of what love vs fear looks like. For a Christian reference, St. Basil the Great lays out the three ways to please God: 1) by fearing Hell and pleasing Him, in which case we are a slave. 2) By fulfilling the commandments or benefiting by seeking the profits that we will receive as reward. 3) By pleasing God through the love of good which makes us sons of God. (Monastic Rules) When a son matures he does his father's will not out of fear of being beaten or because he wants a reward, but because he loves him and is completely convinced that everything belonging to his father is his own. The Desert Fathers stated there are stages in the spiritual life, the stage of fearing Hell is simply a beginning stage, then to earn a reward is the next stage. A person becomes habituated to doing good through these stages until he gets a taste of real good and never wants to be separated from it: "Who then shall separate him from the love of Christ...." (Rom. 8.35) The Two Ways in Judaism from the Deuteronomists were to follow the commandments and shun all other gods, worship of which leads to death. The commandments are life. From this early ethical Judaism develops themes of light vs dark, good vs evil which is summarized by duty to God through reverence, then duty to people through humanity and justice. Early Christianity, emerging from Judaism, was summarized in the Didache with the opening text: "There are two ways, the one of life and the one of death; The difference between the two is great. Now the way of life is this. First you shall love God who made you, secondly, your neighbor as yourself, and whatever you would not wish done to you, do not do to anyone else. Bless those who curse you, pray for your enemies, fast on behalf of those who persecute you.... It goes on to iterate that murder, slander, rage, killing children, raping women and children is all wrong. The Dekkers, however, take it a step further and state murder and killing children is a fear based activity, but also that punishment for murder is a worldly pursuit based in fear. So serial murders should just be love bombed then left to their own devices? The problem is that the Tennessee sect is caught in the first stage of spiritual growth, but then they have no road map on how to progress, they are caught up in a cult of personality, following a single person's vision. This is called "religion" in the book and obviously it is a bad thing. But that isn't what all religion is. It may be what a lot of American religion is, but we can't hold America against everyone. Many other ethical questions arise from the work, which begins to take on a sort of woo-woo "reality is not real" (which isn't my main problem, because it likely isn't from some remote perspective), but how exactly does that get an individual to the point of living the best life they can out of love for God and people? I think there are a few more complicating steps than their allegory can address, like the fact that every 20 years there is a new generation that has to start learning the same crap we all learned in our 20s over again. I was also a bit concerned because the book seems to be written at a very young adult level, and hoped that some impressionable, confused person doesn't take the repeated axiom that this life is not real a la "A Course in Miracles" too far and actually end their life in a fit of some ill-considered passion. Oh yes, but that would be fear ruling my life, right? We should all live like it doesn't matter if we live or die? That seems to pose significant philosophical problems, let alone that most of us are gifted with an HPA axis that absolutely drives us to survive as long as possible. It's there for a reason and it is not a necessarily bad thing. It's not that I find the thought of dying to the world terribly shocking having read my share of 4th century forward monastic works which are all about dying to the world and developing a keen spiritual life, it's just that it is so clumsily done here. Monastic works are a completely different league of spirituality that is trained for like an athlete trains for their event. The monastic's event is prayer and obedience culminating in theosis, or lived experience of oneness with God. That is the goal. The way has been mapped by centuries of monastic athletes. This is religion, and having a roadmap is not always a bad thing. Without a strong tradition in place, little American sects going off into the woods are likely completely off the rails due to the absolute newness of the country, peopled by make-it-up-as-you-go-along type Christianity that came with the Puritans and Reformed and Calvinists and Protestants and Quakers etc., now the thousands of sects derived from those sects. So we are left with the Dekker type religio-philosophy in entertainment package form. It is a completely new age / American derived whatever church philosophy, completely western thought pattern to place all faith in the thoughts in one's head. Change your thoughts and you change reality. Just think a certain way, then you are saved. You just have to think! If you have bad things happen, it's your own damn fault! You aren't thinking right! If you just think right, your reality can change in an instant for the rest of your life (which isn't real and doesn't really matter anyway). The spiritual life is much more amazing and subtle than our thoughts alone can govern. The human being is much more subtle and amazing than their thoughts alone. The experience of trauma is not so easily overcome by having the right thoughts. The kingdom is within, but the search may be a bit longer and more challenging than "The Girl Behind the Red Rope" addresses, in fact it may take some prayerful effort bordering on religiosity to discover it. While there are some good points in the book and some things to perhaps generate some thought or discussion, it might be better taken in a high level view, simple message: some types of fear can be destructive, love is good reminder story.

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