Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Book Review: The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello

Photo taken from Booksneeze
Book Info

Title:  The Mountains Bow Down
Author:  Sibella Giorello
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson 
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  384 pages
ISBN-13:  978-1595545350
Source:  Publisher, Booksneeze

From Booksneeze:

"Everything’s going to work out. Time away always makes things better . . .
That’s what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska. A land of mountains and gems and minerals, the Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who's hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance.
But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh's vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship's security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh’s forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere onboard, a ruthless murderer walks free.
Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis—handsome Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming onboard, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack—who might not be as arrogant as she originally thought.
And that's only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family.
Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a mystery so daunting that even the mountains might bow down before it."

I believe that the best Christian fiction are those that teach you something without coming off as preachy and holier-than-thou.  This book, The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello, is a perfect example of a Christian-oriented novel that subtly blends fiction with Christianity.  The story is about Raleigh Harmon, a workaholic FBI agent who goes on a vacation (sort of) and gets on a cruise, only to find herself caught in the middle of a mysterious death of another passenger that she stubbornly insists is not just a simple case of suicide, despite popular belief. 

Fast-paced, riveting, and emotionally-charged, this story will take the reader to an intense ride through an Alaskan cruise, following Raleigh as she struggles to work out the mysterious death of a co-passenger, the worsening rift in her family, and the disconcerting presence of former rival and now co-investigator for the passenger's death Special Agent Jack Stephanson.

Raleigh seems to be the woman every girl wants to grow up to be:  Beautiful, brave, intelligent, and strong.  However, what a young girl does not know is that every woman has her share of problems, and Raleigh's in particular, is very heavy.  This story shows that beneath her seemingly perfect facade is a cracked mirror that she tries hard to stop from shattering.  This emotionally-charged book explores a person's faith in faith, that when everything seems impossible, it is the time when God's presence is felt the most. 

But far from the very serious tone of the synopsis and theme, this book is full of humorous quips and observations, contributed by the various characters all equally vivid and realistic.  Each person affects the story in no small way, every action and dialogue contributing to the tumultuous ending.  Reading about each character, the reader will feel like he/she has known that person personally, like that character is standing right in front of you and addressing you instead of the other person that he/she is supposed to be interacting with in the book. 

Raleigh's voice is consistent with her personality and the flow of her story.  She gives a fast-paced account of her adventure and reflects constantly about her actions.  We understand that she is a very introspective person.  And we also learn that far from being the woman who has an answer to everything, we see how vulnerable she is.  This significant aspect of the book is what allows the Christian values and lessons to peek through the pages, without sounding too self-righteous, even a non-believer would approve. 

If you are tired of the usual suspense thriller fare offered by other contemporary writers that seem to have 'less soul,' I highly recommend that you read this book.  It has every element that an exciting thriller novel has, but this offers more:  heart, soul, and faith.


If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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.”
Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.


  1. 3846 pages? No freaking way? is that a typo? :)haha! i havent read reviews on this book but it sounds like something I'd read! thanks for sharing!

    Diana @ The Lovely Getaway

  2. Uh-oh. That's totally a typo, I've corrected it already :D


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