The Reckoning by Tanya Parker Mills

Title: The Reckoning

Author: Tanya Parker Mills

Publisher: BookSurge

Release Date: September 17, 2008

ISBN: 978-1439200704

Size: 384 pages, 5×8″, Softcover

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Read the review.

The Reckoning, by Tanya Parker Mills, tells the story of a journey home gone terribly wrong, but even when all the light has gone, forgiveness and redemption can heal the past and show a way to the future. Through gritty, gut wrenching prose Mills’s heroic and courageous storytelling exposes the horrors of dictatorship and the mindless cruelty that flows from political repression. It also sends a message of hope, inspiration, and faith in the human heart. Mills’s The Reckoning masterfully weaves the real horrors of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq with the rich threads of a compelling fictional narrative as raw and real as anything taken from today’s political headlines. Told with tenacious honesty and unflinching realism, in a style sure to disturb and entertain, The Reckoning shows how we can transcend the past, no matter how painful or murky it may have been, and that the future is out there, full and bright, if we are willing to embrace it.

6 thoughts on “The Reckoning by Tanya Parker Mills”

  1. This book is fantastic until the last few pages, then the clumsy, unrealistic ending detracts terribly. Those who want a fairytale romantic ending may like it, but I didn’t; I wanted the raw realism of the rest of the book. I also don’t buy the romance under such conditions and different cultures with the woman ten years older than the man.

  2. Review by Erin.

    Mills is an LDS author, but The Reckoning is not an LDS story. Theresa, the main character, reveals that as a child she was religious, she mentions her baptism and going to Sunday School, but after her father dies in prison, she loses her faith. In the Iraqi prison, she learns to pray again but no specific religion is mentioned in the book.

    The Reckoning is a very compelling story with a complex plot and intriguing characters that keep you reading, even when the cruelty of the situation makes you want to stop. Mills doesn’t pull any punches as she describes the conditions in the prisons and the torture inflicted on the prisoners, however, she does show restraint. Much of the violence is told after the fact, but there are some scenes that do take place in real time. As such, this is often a hard story to read and it’s definitely for adults only.

    While this story hurt my heart in a few places, and more than one significant character died, I was impressed with the strength and the courage of Theresa, Peter, Tariq and his family, as well as the Kurdish people. Their unrelenting search for truth and freedom was inspiring. I couldn’t help but think that if they could be strong in their situation, perhaps I too could be strong in my comparative life of ease and peace.

    There were a few glitches in the story. I had a problem following the timeline and reconciling Theresa’s past with her months in prison. If I did the math right, she’s about 48 when she’s captured by the Iraqis, and Tariq would be about 9 years younger. But as the story unfolds and we get a feel for their personalities, it seems like those two are closer in age, and that Theresa is maybe in her mid-thirties. I don’t recall anywhere in the book where it actually tells her age.


  3. Review by Erin (continued)

    Another oops is when one of Theresa’s Kurdish guides is tortured. At first it says his left hand is cut off (66). That stuck with me because I was relieved it wasn’t his right. In that culture, losing your right hand makes you an outcast. Imagine my surprise, when later in the book it says it was his right hand that is missing (262).

    Theresa’s flashbacks that come when she has an epileptic “episode” were a little confusing and at first I thought they were problematic. The flashback in the prologue was fine because you know it’s setting something up. But then the ones after that seem unrelated and a bit annoying because they break you out of the “real” story. But soon, I realized that they’re all tied together and the memories hold the key to Theresa’s current situation and her escape. By mid-book, I was as interested in the flashbacks and what little clues they would reveal as I was in the current story.

    There are several twists and turns in the plot that were very good. The last twist concerning Tariq’s true parentage was a little convenient, but I was willing to overlook that because I really liked the developing relationship between him and Theresa. But let me make clear here, this is not a love story.

    Overall, I can’t say I “enjoyed” the book because the harsh subject matter kept it from being a fun and easy read. But it touched me, it made me think—and yes, I would recommend it to others, with a caution about the violence.

    Even with the glitches, I give this book 4 stars for realistic treatment, strong and believable characterization and a gripping story line.

    Caution: Violence, drugs and alcohol use, immorality.

  4. Comment by Laura.

    I was very impressed with this book. I agree with Erin – it's definitely for adults and it is a little hard to read here and here, but I loved the look it gave me into a subject I didn't know a lot about, and the writing was really good. Definitely one of the better books I've read this year.

  5. Comment by Tristi Pinkston.

    Agreed. I'm glad the rapes weren't shown real-time – I think we were shown just enough to get the point across, without it being overwhelmingly graphic. As the others have said, this is war, and you can't be too soft and dainty when writing about a war. I get criticized all the time for killing off my characters … but it's war, people! Stuff like that happens!

    Anyway, my hat is off to Mills and I appreciated her book very much.

  6. Comment by Jennie.

    The child is nine when she catches her father in a compromising situation. The woman is already pregnant so that would put the girl about ten when the guy is born. Or the female lead is ten years old than the male lead. I liked parts of this book very much, but disliked the convenient ending, and I found it hard to believe that the girl's father taught her religious values while having an affair. I also didn't like how easily she dismissed the photographer who was in love with her and risked so much to make her plight known and free her. There's a lot more Stockholm than love on the woman's side of this supposed love relationship.

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