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Strands of Truth

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Suspense melds with romance as the past meets the present in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Harper Taylor is used to being alone. Her mother passed away in a car accident when she was an infant, she never knew who her father was, and now even the widowed grandmother who raised her is gone. She’s done just fine investing her marine biology degree and her energy into her pen shell business.

The last thing she expects is for the DNA test she took to reveal a likely half-sister. And when she and Annabelle meet, there are striking similarities in their stories. Is it just coincidence that both their mothers died tragically without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

When Harper’s business partner is attacked, his son Ridge steps in to help. Before long, he's spending more time with her than the business would dictate . . . and Harper finds she doesn’t mind in the least.

When yet another tragedy strikes close to home, though, Harper and Ridge realize that the secrets of the past can’t stay there. They’ll have to unravel Harper’s past before they can secure their future.

336 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 1, 2019

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About the author

Colleen Coble

126 books4,468 followers
USAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 641 reviews
Profile Image for Susan.
1,129 reviews188 followers
September 11, 2019
Strands of Truth

Colleen Coble

I've only read one other Colleen Coble book before STRANDS OF TRUTH, but I know for sure, this won't be my last one! She hooked me from the very first page and never let me go!
Colleen sure knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat while reading and I love when an author does that to me. Two women die in very different circumstances twenty years apart. Many years later, during a DNA test, their adult daughters find out that they are half sisters. Can the story get any stranger than that? Oh yes it can, but you are going to have to read STRANDS OF TRUTH to find out. No spoilers here!


As Annabelle and Harper try to figure out the connection between their two mothers, someone tries to kidnap each of them. The twists and turns just keep coming. So much so, that you won't be able to put STRANDS OF TRUTH DOWN until the very end. You will learn a lot about Harper's career as a marine biologist as well as sea silk. At least I did. You will also see how the main characters learn to trust and forgive throughout this suspenseful tale and you will be cheering for them to figure it all out. I thought I knew who was trying to get them, but of course, I was wrong! My emotions were all over the place while reading and as soon as I was finished, I immediately checked my book shelves for more of Colleen's stories. I have quite a few and am excited to get to them.


Overall, STRANDS OF TRUTH is a book I can say nothing but fantastic things about. There is so much heart in Colleen's writing that I was left with a huge smile on my face and my heart, very happy. All of the characters are very interesting and believable, so much so that I felt as if I've known them for a long time. I look forward to reading Ms. Coble's previous books that I haven't gotten to yet as well as her future ones. There is so much going on in this story, but Colleen does a wonderful job of weaving all the pieces together. All of the characters will have you feeling sad and then smiling on the same page. Once you finish devouring this story, you are going to want to tell everyone you know about this awesome book.


I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit through Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
Profile Image for Shalini.
2,495 reviews198 followers
September 7, 2019
I super loved this book. I just finished it and my fingers were trembling with the adrenaline rush. This book was the perfect example of how a romantic suspense ought to be.

Harper wanted to find her family. Her DNA testing brought her to a half-sister Annabelle and the murky darkness of the past where both their mothers had been murdered. Both the women too were in danger as an intruder in ski mask kept trying to kidnap them and kill the others. Ridge, the son of her mentor, soon let go of his btliyteness and see her with new eyes. The two investigated the deaths happening around them, past and the present.

My first book by author Colleen Coble, and she has a fan in me. The story was the perfect combination where strands of the past were woven into the present, and the truth came out insidiously page after page, creeping up on me. The author created a setting so powerful that every moment showed the danger that the two were in. The writing had the power to enfold me with the thrill of its words.

The book was fast, spot on with the scenes where the almost non stop action caught me and threw me into the spirals of suspense. I could barely hold on, but never afraid to sink as I was sure the author would keep the book rushing till the last page.

The twin pillars of a thriller, suspense and mystery, were never as strongly written as they were in this book. The pulse rate slowly reached to skyrocketting levels with each chapter and the last finale was BOOM. Absolutely freaking fantastic!!
Profile Image for Cara Putman.
Author 48 books1,611 followers
August 16, 2019
Colleen Coble is back with her best book yet. A complex plot tied to an interesting concept: Sea Silk. Add in murders from a generation ago that tie to today, and this is a book you won't be able to put down. Such a good read. Intense. Romantic. With a puzzle from the past that is colliding with today. A page--turner of a read.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,946 reviews548 followers
September 13, 2019
Strands of Truth was a fascinating read. I found the storyline to be intriguing and thought-provoking. I liked the characters right away and I enjoyed how romance wasn't the main focus of the book.



The writing style was A+ and it was very easy to stay interested in the story, even though I wasn't able to read it uninterrupted and had to take lots of breaks.



All in all, Strands of Truth was very good and I recommend it. Colleen Coble knows how to write good suspense!



*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.*
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,630 reviews57 followers
September 13, 2021
This one had so many twists and turns, it made my head spin; if you read this, you'd better buckle up!
Profile Image for Christine Indorf.
684 reviews110 followers
September 1, 2021
Its reread week for me and I wanted to reread a Colleen Coble book and I just love this one. Why is someone after Harper and her newly discovered sister? When her mentor and friend was attacked, his son Ridge and Harper try to find out who is after Harper. I loved this story. It will have you guessing until the end who is responsible for who is after Harper. I had fun and was thrilled at the same time. I love Colleen Coble and if you haven't read anything by her might I suggest you trying out Strands of Truth. You will soon want to read more from this author!!
Profile Image for Staci.
1,658 reviews509 followers
September 26, 2021
The best part of this novel was the connection between the brief flashbacks to 1969 and 1970 and the current day thread. The vast majority of the novel was set in the current year, but the glimpses to the past added a lot to the novel.

The why behind the crime became clear pretty early on. I struggled quite a bit with a couple of the characters, but primarily Ridge. His character changed drastically and readers didn't see that transition or what altered his point of view.
Profile Image for Kaitlyn Krispense.
Author 1 book85 followers
October 7, 2019
So, I'd like to start off by saying that I appreciated the lack of physical touch in this book. There was definitely attraction, and a few awkward moments, but really. (minor spoiler here) the couple didn't even kiss until the end. So there's that. I was pleasantly surprised at how clean it was. That's probably what kept this boat from sinking to two stars.

Okay, now . . . the setting. The diving and overall setting was super cool to read about, but all the talk about mollusks and pen shells and byssus and sea silk went right over my head. (Not gonna lie, I eventually Googled some of that stuff.) But Harper's house boat sounded super cute and quaint (I mean, really. She wants to get rid of the old orange shaggy carpet that clashed with the turquoise bedspread? C'mon, Harper, where's your sense of adventure??)

The murder mysteries were unique and intriguing and sad . . . but I kept getting Lisa and Judy mixed up. And Grace and whoever the other best friend was. Good grief, there were so many minor characters, I finally gave up trying to remember them all. If I couldn't place a name, they just stuck in my head as a vague idea.

Okayyyy, the main characters. *deep breath* Let's go.
Harper. *cringes* I enjoyed Harper's character. I really did. But the book started out with Harper at a clinic, adopting an embryo. The problem? Harper is a single 30-year-old woman so desperate to have children and show them the love that she never had as a child, that she takes matters into her own hands when she comes to the conclusion that she'll probably never get married soon enough to have kids. Now, some wouldn't have a problem with this. I couldn't show you exact Scriptures to back me up. But I also believe that a single parent adopting a child (or embryo in this case) goes against God's design for family. Harper claimed to be a Christian, yet there was nothing in the book that mentioned her waiting for His timing, trusting Him, or even wondering if He wanted her to have any children at all.

Okay, rant over. Let's move to Ridge. Dude has serious trust issues—almost as bad as Harper herself. He's bitter and has held a grudge against Harper for nearly two decades because his father seemed to give more love to the 'daughter of his heart' than to his own two children. So when his dad comes up with a situation in which they can work together, his first reaction was repulse—until he realized that he could use this as an opportunity to prove once and for all that Harper was only here to mooch his dad's money! Brilliant! *headesk* Someone shoot me. One of my least favorite tropes is enemies-to-lovers. And this is a classic moment in that very trope.

So, okay, let's dive into more depth on the romance. They both have admitted their attraction to each other. (Actually it was more of an I-realize-that-I-hated-you-to-protect-myself-from-my-attraction-to-you-all-these-years kind of admittance, but I digress.) She wants to run her fingers through his thick, gorgeous black hair. He wants to protect her with his entire being. They both pretty much know exactly what the other is thinking. Yet Harper is convinced of his love one moment, then convinced of the opposite the next. And Ridge? Well, he was a little more steady, which I appreciated. But *cringes* both characters seemed a little . . . shallow?

So why three stars instead of two? Like I mentioned before, the romance wasn't awful. (Aside from their constant denial.) And the mysteries kept me intrigued. The intense moments kept me hooked and let's just not forget the stun gun. That was fabulously angsty.
Profile Image for Karen R.
589 reviews68 followers
July 28, 2019

A riveting suspenseful drama with a side of romance, set along the lovely Florida Gulf coast!
Mysterious deaths both past and present seem to be linked together, but without witnesses and missing evidence, the threat continues to grow. Harper just wants a family of her own. Finding a living relative through DNA testing brings on more trouble than she can handle alone.

I liked the unique plot using the mollusk research for pharmaceuticals, and the idea of finding unknown relatives through a DNA test. Everyone longs for a place to belong, a loving family and safe network of friends. Harper had my sympathy from the get go as she reached out to find her own. Ridge took a lot longer to warm up to, assigning wrong motives to Harper, hanging onto resentment and bitterness. (I wanted to smack him a few times!) There was a lot of animosity and prejudice to overcome. Many families seem to struggle with this on some level though, I believe. Learning to forgive and trust isn't easy, but with God's help, it is possible.
The setting was a perfect one to create peril with scuba diving, unpredictable weather, and suspicious characters popping out at every turn. The suspense and mystery kept the story moving as it is finally revealed who was orchestrating the events, both past and present. A few winks to another series were fun too.

Recommend to readers who enjoy a good suspenseful mystery with faith and romance. 4.5 stars
(I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
Profile Image for Ruth Hill.
1,115 reviews638 followers
September 5, 2019
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

First of all, I have read other Colleen Coble books, and I have never been disappointed. Yes, she writes in several genres of Christian fiction, but you can always be assured that you will read a book with squeaky clean content with a bit of an edge, and you always know that the Christian faith will play a significant role in the characters' development. While the gospel may not be spelled out in her books, the role of faith is always embedded within the fabric of the story and never comes across as being cheesy. All of this (and more) describes this book to a tee, and I would recommend it to any readers who love Christian, thriller, and mystery fiction.

This story definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. And Colleen dealt with issues that are current. No spoilers, but it was refreshing to read about these issues and see how they were covered in a Christian book as opposed to the network TV shows. I appreciated the principles she laid out and how she wove everything together. I simply adore her inspiration behind reading the book, and maybe this will tug on the heartstrings of some readers who have experienced things related to DNA testing. This book would have been deemed implausible a few years ago, but in light of the world in which we live now, I would say there is no fanciful imaginings in this book. It definitely rings true and could easily be ripped from the headlines. Indeed, this would make one fantastic Christian thriller if someone ever considered adapting it to the screen.
Profile Image for Loraine.
2,913 reviews
September 12, 2019
Colleen Coble never disappoints with her action packed suspense, and her newest delivery meets her high standards. This is a story you can't read slowly as the action builds with every page.

Harper Taylor has grown up as a loner having been shuffled from one foster family to another until she finally is taken under Oliver Taylor's wing as a runaway teenager. He pours his love for the ocean and its gifts into Harper and she becomes fascinated with marine biology. But she still longs for a family of her own. When a DNA test reveals a half-sister, her life changes because suddenly she and her half-sister find themselves unknowingly in danger.

I particularly enjoyed the generational research that Harper and Ridge, Oliver's son, had to do in order to trace their way back to Harper and Annabelle's unknown father. Following the threads to put the puzzle together was fascinating. The slowly developing relationship between Harper and Ridge along with her new relationship with Annabelle and her sons added a sweet dimension. Coble's characters were interesting and likable; and this, along with some interesting settings, added to a mystery that took the entire book to untangle.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 2 books1,629 followers
June 4, 2021
So twisty! I hated pausing my reading to sleep last night. It was so tense throughout, and there was plenty of action at every turn. It was really fun that the leading lady lived on a houseboat; that’s unique. It was very interesting to have a thread about an adopted embryo. That isn’t something anywhere near my radar, so it was cool to have that featured so I could learn more about it. The mystery was great! I never figured it out, and that’s tough to accomplish, as I read a lot of suspense. I especially loved that the Weeki Wachee mermaids were highlighted. I saw their Little Mermaid show when I was little, only a few years after the animated movie came out. I’ve never before seen the show featured in a fictional story, so this was a special treat!

Content: alcohol
Profile Image for Debbie.
3,173 reviews56 followers
July 16, 2019
"Strands of Truth" is a Christian romantic suspense novel. The main characters were likable, interesting people. Ridge started out determined to expose Harper as this horrible person yet never suspected her of wrongdoing during current events and quickly decided he'd been wrong about her. They worked well together and had long been secretly attracted to each other. Since Ridge's 'revenge' intent was never developed, I wondered why the author added it (rather than simply having him resenting her).

Suspense was created by a man attacking Ridge's father and repeatedly attempting to kidnap Harper and her half-sister. They asked questions about Harper's unknown father while trying to figure out why someone was trying to kidnap the half-sisters. Since the reader knows more than the characters, both the reason and the father seemed obvious to me from the moment we're first introduced to that character, but the good guys were (understandably) baffled until the end.

Unfortunately, some things about the story didn't feel realistic. For example, a cop re-opened an old cold case then just handed all the case notes and evidence over to these civilians that he barely knew to do with as they please. No attempt was made at maintaining chain of evidence.

There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this suspenseful novel, though it's not my favorite by this author.

I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Susan.
519 reviews56 followers
September 6, 2019
Colleen Coble is one of my go-to authors for Christian suspense. She knows how to write a good page-turner, having the suspense build from the very first page as the reader tries to solve the crime. Even though her murders can be rather gruesome, I appreciate the clean read.

This is all true of her newest novel, Strands of Truth. I loved the premise from the very beginning, with marine biologists and DNA matches and unsolved murders. With another murder, kidnappings and a little romance added to the mix, the author has penned another fabulous story. I did guess the identity of the murderer about halfway through the story, but it was still interesting to connect all-the-dots between the unsolved murders a generation before and the current case. I also appreciated the thread of learning to trust and forgive that was woven throughout the story.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher via netgalley. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Maureen Timerman.
2,776 reviews466 followers
August 20, 2019
I found this book to be a page turner, there seems to be non-stop action, and you may think whom the perpetrator is but, then you quickly change your mind, but who is after these women?
The author gives us a roller coaster of emotions here, as humans we tend to cling to our families, but to have none, such a hard thing.
Today’s modern technology gives many new hopes to find their roots, and part of this book is what happens when we find those we are related to.
I didn’t figure this one out ahead of time, so was surprised how everything turned out. I just wish I could continue on in the lives of these characters!

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.

Profile Image for Julia.
2,366 reviews61 followers
September 4, 2019
Strands Of Truth by Colleen Coble is an exciting and gripping contemporary Christian suspense that will have the reader glued and guessing.
Legacies are important, as is heritage. We need to know where we come from in order to plot where we are going. Even more important is to know Whose we are.
A mother’s love is a powerful thing. It is protective and caring. If we are denied it as a child, we will lose our anchor in life and be continually searching for that love, never trusting as the foundations are not there.
We can trust God. He will be with us and walk through the storms beside us. “No matter what happened, God was with her in this.” Sometimes life is hard but God is faithful. “God saw her in this place. She had to hold on to faith.”
There will be times when we face difficulties. “She needed to gird herself for the battle with some praise music and her favourite Bible promises.” Reminding ourselves of God’s promises and soaking in His presence helps us to walk through our fearful circumstances.”
We all need someone to believe in us. When we have someone who walks beside us, encouraging us, we can achieve great things.
The novel is bang up to date with the latest scientific advances as we hear about DNA testing and embryo adoptions.
If not used wisely, money and power corrupt. “His father’s money and power ensured he was accepted no matter where he went.” Money and power will always open doors but we must be discerning as to which doors we walk through. We must always be wise stewards of that which God has entrusted us with. “If you pray about it, God will tell you the right thing to do.”
Colleen Coble always writes novels that grip me from the start. Her plotlines are intricate, engaging and well thought out. Strands Of Truth was a marvellous novel. I will leave you with one final powerful quote:
“Live like you’re dying.”
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Kelsie Maxwell.
403 reviews66 followers
October 24, 2019
Strands of Truth is a Christian mystery novel by bestselling author, Colleen Coble.

Harper Taylor and Annabelle Rice both submit DNA in a search for potential family members and find that they are half sisters. Strangely enough their mothers both died under suspicious circumstances when they were babies, without revealing the name of their shared father.

Oliver Jackson is Harper’s mentor and business partner. He is attacked while on a dive with Harper. Oliver’s son, Ridge, isn’t especially fond of Harper but joins forces with her to figure out who attacked his father and why. What is it about Harper’s past that’s bringing danger now? Are the emotions developing between Ridge and Harper real or just a result of the constant contact they’re in because of their investigation?

Strands of Truth is an interesting read. Part of the backstory is revealed through flashbacks from the viewpoint of Lisa Taylor and Judy Russo, Harper’s and Annabelle’s mothers, respectively. The flashbacks are handled with dated headers, so there is no confusion. Scenery is also used effectively. The plot is engaging and holds the reader’s attention. Christian themes are melded seamlessly into the characters’ thoughts, actions and dialogue. They’re presented naturally and unobtrusively. Giving and receiving grace, especially God’s grace is a special theme.

Overall I enjoyed this novel and rate it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to readers who enjoy a good mystery, especially with Christian themes.

My thanks to Thomas Nelson — FICTION and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
Profile Image for Sarita.
1,071 reviews629 followers
September 16, 2021
This was another great suspense from a trusted romantic suspense author. From the flashback at the start of the book till the end, the story grabbed my attention and I ended up each night with "Just one more chapter".

The author provided me with a great mystery plot, throwing in a few possibilities of why the person was after Harper, as well who the boss could be. However, as soon as I met a certain character, I knew what was going on and why, but I was surprised when the ultimate person behind everything was revealed.

The way DNA can be used to find relatives is interesting and made that thread feel realistic.

Another great romantic suspense from Colleen Coble.
Profile Image for Christa.
2,214 reviews419 followers
January 15, 2020
I enjoyed this Christian romantic suspense. The main characters, Harper Taylor and Ridge Jackson, really drew me in. The plot was interesting and tied current murders back to ones from a generation and two generations ago. The backdrop of the mollusk research in Florida made for a good setting. Great characters, a fast-paced storyline, and an appealing setting all meld together to make a very good book.
Profile Image for Chautona Havig.
Author 247 books1,497 followers
September 12, 2019
What Is the Truth about This Book?
I’m kind of known for finding odd things that I pull from books. Sometimes it’s something others can see once I point it out, but other times they just give me that, “Yeah… sorry, don’t get it,” look.

This is probably one of those books. As expected, Strands of Truth begins with high intensity and only lets up now and then for you to catch your breath before pushing you over another hill in the roller coaster car that it is!

Seriously, it has almost everything going for it. Characters—believable, multi-faceted characters appear on every page. Even the minor folks that appear on screen erm… the page for a moment have depth to them.

Description…
I may not know what living near Florida’s ocean is like, but I do know what it’s like in the Pacific, and I felt like I was there near the sea. I could almost smell the salt and brine. The rocking of the boat? Yep. All of it. Brilliant.

Plot? Excellent. Few people could take several semi-unrelated tropes, stir them into a plot of intrigue, deception, and criminal behavior and produce a completely plausible and harrowing story. Coble did it all in Strands of Truth without pushing over into the sensational. Skills, man. Just sayin’.

Writing? Almost perfect.
Seriously, one of the things I love most about Coble’s writing is how she knows when to weave a word in to pack a bigger punch and when to use a simpler one. Aside from a few annoyingly-placed “thens” in the first third of the book, I enjoyed every word I read. Even the subtle use of the title itself as a clue to elements in the book is brilliant.

Complaints? One.
The horse is flattened to an unrecognizable pancake, but I have to say it again. Faith. Where is it, Thomas Nelson? Seriously? To Ms. Coble’s credit, there’s more in Strands of Truth than some recent ones—easier to see the undercurrent of how faith-inspired actions and reactions than most of Nelson’s of late.

Still, as much as I hate preachiness, I’m about to become a staunch supporter of it in reaction to the serious lack of faith elements in their books. For what it’s worth, this is, in my opinion, a publisher issue. It’s too across the board in nearly every single Thomas Nelson book this year for me not to lay the issue on them.

If it doesn’t change by the end of the year, I’m putting them in the clean but not Christian category in my mind. If I want Christian fiction—by that, I mean something that will prick or encourage my faith—I won’t be choosing one of their books.

Strands of Truth is recommended for people who love to figure out the elements of a good suspense novel.
I suspected at around the 12% mark but she didn’t give me anything to even hope at confirmation until the 25% mark exactly. Some of the whys were complete “throw me for a loops” despite being almost cliched. In fact, she took the cliche and totally turned it on its head in my opinion. Brilliant again.

Just don’t expect to be able to put it down. I had trouble switching from it to Bible Study last night. Just sayin’.

Actually… there’s some irony there somewhere. I’m sure of it.
Profile Image for Diane.
939 reviews34 followers
July 22, 2019
Strands of Truth by author Colleen Coble is a suspense story with a romance and it is wonderful! Harper Taylor wants a family of her own. She had a very distressed childhood and was shuttled to different foster homes until she received help from an unexpected source, Oliver Jackson. He saw her need when she was a teen and arranged a safe foster home and later a college education for Harper. Oliver had been her mentor and was now her business partner in cultivating and harvesting black pearls from her bed of bivalve mollusks. Now Harper is starting a new endeavor, she adopted an embryo and has just had the implant. She is praying it will thrive and she will become a mother!
The problems arise after Harper identifies a possible half-sister after a DNA test and search. Annabelle soon meets Annabelle who has recently been diagnosed with cancer and will start chemo soon. They both find life a bit strange to know both their mothers were killed when they were babies. Anabelle's mother was murdered and Harpers mother had been injured in a car accident and died minutes after Harper was born.
I won't post spoilers, but the attempts on Harper and Annabelle's lives continue to be frightening with no clear reasons or answers.
The whole book is very interesting. Not only do you have the mystery/suspense, but the imagery of the ocean, the mollusks beds, the sea silk fabric, and the Weeki Wachee Mermaids of the 1960's. Once I started the book, I could not stop reading until the ending.
I appreciate the mystery, suspense, interesting subject matter, and knowing I can read the book and refer it to my friends.
Publication Date September 10, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,472 reviews43 followers
September 5, 2021
Whoa! This book grabbed my attention from the very start, and pulled me along through twists and turns and a wee bit of a romance to boot!
I really liked how both Harper and Ridge were characters that were doing their best to live out their faith, and how, as their friendship grew, they were willing to listen to the other's advice about forgiveness and trust.
I think the suspense aspect really 'killed it' (forgive my pun!). I kept trying to put this clue and that hint together to figure out who and why Harper and Annabelle were being targeted, but the actual reveal of 'whodunnit' wasn't something I would have ever anticipated.
Speaking of Annabelle, I really enjoyed her as a character, and kinda hope we might see a bit more of her in a future Coble novel.
Profile Image for Brittany.
2,184 reviews136 followers
September 12, 2019
This book was really good! I loved the complicated relationship that the two main characters had. Resentment that grew to love, but in a way that made sense. The suspense storyline was captivating, drawing from the popular craze of DNA testing. The flashbacks to the past made the women who had died feel like the important part of the story that they indeed were.
Profile Image for Kristi Drillien.
Author 3 books13 followers
February 15, 2020
Harper's mother died just before Harper was born, and she never knew her father. At the age of 15, a man named Oliver took her under his wing and became like a father to her in many ways. His own children detested Harper, though, because of how much attention their father paid to her, and assuming that Harper was only after their father's money. As an adult, Harper looks up to Oliver as a mentor, and now works with him as a business partner. At the start of the story, a DNA registry site has found a likely half-sister for Harper, and upon meeting, Harper realizes that both sisters have a similar story, with their mothers dying when they were infants, and neither knowing their father. At the same time, both women become the target of attempted kidnappings. Oliver is also attacked, and his son Ridge is determined to find out why, while also attempting to expose Harper for the fraud he believes her to be.

This book was a jumbled mess, and my mind feels a bit jumbled when trying to organize a review. I will start with what I did like. The premise was intriguing, and the mystery did hold my attention for the first half of the book. The descriptions of the Florida setting were good, and it was easy to imagine a warm, humid environment. The book brought some subjects to my attention that I otherwise might never have known about (for example, sea silk and other things related to pen shells).

However, this also leads me to my first issue. Many things came up in the book that were completely foreign to me, and I was left to figure out on my own what on earth it even was. Or the explanation would come so late that I was confused for a while. At one point early in the book, it says a character was in the "Weeki Wachee parking lot," but really never actually says what Weeki Wachee is. My first guess was that it was a common supermarket chain in the region. Or maybe a restaurant. But after Googling it, it's apparently a state park and spring in Florida. It would have been really easy to explain this in the book, along with many other things, but instead, I had to Google more than I would prefer while reading a book.

Speaking of Google, there was a lot of mention of food and restaurants in the book that weirdly came across like name-dropping. As if, to make the book feel more authentic to the location, the author had done an internet search for popular restaurants in the real-life town in which the book is set, and even went to the online menus so that the characters could mention specific dishes that really do exist in those restaurants (I looked one up; it's real!). Maybe this shouldn't seem like a big deal, but it got to a point where it was just a bit too much, and took me out of the narrative enough to bother me.

And then there was the really weird part where the narration compared the main male character (Ridge) to "Chris McNally from Supernatural a bit, right down to the thick black hair." I had to stop right there and look him up. I've watched Supernatural quite a bit, but I didn't recognize the name. He was in two episodes, 6 years apart, as bit roles! I have my theory about why Coble included this bit of obscure trivia, but no matter the reason, it was completely out of left field and made no sense. This reference is not going to help anyone envision the character. This is indicative of what I felt was a greater issue in this book--it really could have done with another round of intensive editing.

This book was half-mystery, half-romance. The mystery half was the only thing that kept me going, because the romance was half-baked at best. For one thing, I really didn't care about either of the two main characters. I did not connect with them at all. Also, the main characters strongly disliked each other for a while, then started to warm to each other. Then Ridge tells Harper that he misjudged her and wants to start fresh, making it clear that he has some sort of feelings for her. But two days later, she's panicking over an idea that maybe he just thinks of her as a sister. And since the turn in their relationship came halfway through the story, it was very predictable what the bump in the romance was going to be, and even that turned out to be weakly done.

As for the mystery half of the story, it really fell apart in the 2nd half as well. For one thing, there are flashbacks throughout the book showing the life of a woman who was murdered around 1970 in the year leading up to that event, but by the end of the book, I realized that the flashbacks added basically nothing to the story.

This review is getting very long, so I'll try to be more brief in the rest of my notes. Clues to the mystery were given in an order that did not maximize suspense for the reader. The main characters investigated more than the authorities (who didn't really seem all that concerned about the abductions), and yet the main characters are constantly questioning if these obviously related events are even related. Most of the mystery was fairly obvious (to me) early enough in the book to make any twists near the end fall flat. Several things happen that make no sense and are never explained.


All in all, this half-mystery, half-romance didn't deliver in either department. And this time, I don't think I can chalk my biggest issues up to personal preference. The book has many flaws that clearly others were able to overlook, but I couldn't. I would not be able to recommend this book to anyone, and again I'd state that with further revision, it could have been a much more enjoyable read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,816 reviews98 followers
September 27, 2019
"It was better to expect nothing than to face disappointment."

Harper Taylor hasn't fully trusted others for years. Being shuffled from one foster home to another most of her life prompted her to run away, and then providence provided her with a wealthy, and very loving guardian, whose personal attention gave her the means and opportunity to become a marine biologist. Harper wanted more; she now wanted to locate members of her biological family.

After the results of a DNA test provide the name of a half sister within driving distance, Harper meets Annabelle; considerably older but with a similar back story; both of their mothers had died under mysterious circumstances. Shortly after their introduction, it appears that someone has both women in the cross hairs of some sort of twisted sinister plot; lives are at stake, and Ridge Jackson, once dubious about Harper's motives to befriend his father, seems to have changed his mind about Harper. That possibility has the potential to break Harper's heart.

Rather than intriguing, this book was a bit confusing with its many random "strands of truth". In the end however, the author does a nice job of making the story fit perfectly into a tragic hoarding of horrid secrets which spill over into a young woman's desire to know the truth.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 1 book70 followers
September 25, 2019
Strands of Truth is a fast-pace dramatic story, with a plot as unique as its characters and setting. Set in three time periods, the story connects past murders to the present in a way that only Colleen Coble could pull off. I'm convinced that if other authors attempted this complex multi-level plot line the story would be convoluted. But Strands of Truth weaves an intricate story spanning 30 years that hooks the reader from start to finish.

The story starts with Harper Taylor who is researching marine life (the author goes into in-depth on lots of subjects like mollusks and shells, which you'd think would be an overwhelming subject as a reader, but the author breaks it down until it's facilitating.) Harper's life has been spent trying to find her birth father and figure out how her mother died. She finds out she has a half sister whose mother was murdered and teams up with Ridge, a man who hates her, to connect the pieces of a very fragmented puzzle. Then to add to the complexity of the plot someone tries to abduct her and her newly discovered sister and murders her mentor. Harper and Ridge spend the novel trying to stay alive while solving three murders, decades apart.

The setting made the story. Set in the gulf coast of FL, Harper lived on a boat and the maritime setting made me nostalgic for old FL. Part of the story takes readers to FL landmarks like Weekie Wachee. I'm a FL girl, so of course I loved it!

Strands of Truth start off with the author throwing a lot of details at the readers, but then once you wrap your mind around the characters and the setting plus the unusual circumstances, you are sucked into the mystery of it all. I also couldn't guess the ending, so I give five stars to this suspense novel that kept me guessing until the very end.

I received a complementary ebook review copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Profile Image for Gloria.
800 reviews58 followers
August 17, 2019
Colleen Coble is a master storyteller who is always able to spin a story that is rich with well developed characters, an intense, interesting plot and great setting. The story takes place on the lovely Gulf Coast of Florida in towns of Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Duniden. Harper Taylor's mother was involved in a car accident, gave birth to Harper and died moments later. Harper is used to being alone. She ran away from the foster system and was found by businessman Oliver Jackson, who became her mentor when she was fifteen. Now she is thirty and after a DNA test has discovered a half sister, Annabelle, both fathered by an unknown man. Annabelle's mother was murdered. Now, both of them have been attacked and an attempt to kidnap was made on each. Someone attacked Oliver as well. Oliver's son, Ridge, and Harper have never been friends but Oliver wants them to work together in a sea life research lab he purchased. When the attempts are made, the two unite to get answers. This is an interesting story to unravel, to find out why someone is after the two sisters and how is Oliver's attack connected. There is a little history in the story involving the years old, famed Weeki Wachee and the Mermaid shows that are still going on. I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery with the history, lovely setting, the characters - some great, some not so great, and a thread of romance and faith. I was kept guessing and trying to figure out what was going on and who was involved. Ms. Coble tied things up wonderfully.
I received a complimentary ARC from Thomas Nelson Publishing through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine only.
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