Dan Branson has faced disappointments and tragedy in life. Nevertheless, he is a man of exceptional integrity and faith. In The Villa, by Ben Rolphe, Branson’s adopted daughter, Mattie, is about to embark on an adventure with her two best girlfriends to help a missionary serving orphans and abused women in Guatemala. At nineteen, Mattie is mature and committed to her loving family and friends. People familiar with the region where the girls are headed try to dissuade the Branson family from allowing Mattie to go on the trip. The area where the girls are headed is extremely dangerous, due to the narcotics trade, corruption, poverty, and political instability. Acting on faith, the girls decide to proceed with their plans to work with the missionary. Dan enlists the help of a CIA contact in Guatemala in case the girls encounter trouble. Their plans go awry when evil-minded drug dealers hatch a scheme that could separate the girls from their families forever.
This book is an uncomplicated representation of a struggle between good and evil, with a bonus peek at heavenly forces on the side of good. In other words, angels pop up at crucial points in the story to help people caught in dire straits. The angels look like men. The characters on the side of good are presented as people almost devoid of flaws while the evil characters are presented as people without any redeeming qualities. This reviewer found the most intriguing character to be Isabella Coronado, a dignified, but fearful, woman caught between the drug dealers and doing the right thing. The story builds slowly, but once the action begins, it moves along at a suspenseful pace. This is definitely a religious genre book as it contains traditional Christian doctrine woven into the plot. A quick and pleasant read.
Carpenters Son Publishing