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Pocketful of Pearls

(Smoke River #2)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Written with beauty and grace, award-winning author Shelley Bates pens the compelling story about the unstoppable force of the emergent self.

Dinah Traynell is trapped in a life that is not her own. Raised in a toxic church, she is forced to surrender mentally and physically to her sociopathic pastor’s every demand. Even while mourning the loss of her father, Dinah must hol
Paperback, 276 pages
Published August 24th 2005 by Faithwords
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  143 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Michelle Robinson
Whew, this book is HARD to read.

There are some serious, difficult to digest, issues of sexual abuse in this book. From my limited experience with this genre, this book is a definite departure.

This is not a pat Christian love story.

Dinah Tryanell's father has just died, when we meet her she is about to encounter Matthew Nicholas a former University professor who is basically walking cross country as he tries to dwal with some personal issues that have arisien in his life.

Dinah has been terribly
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Christian based. OMG. You're not human if you don't grab for the Kleenex box while reading this one. Well written, highly engaging, detailed character development, and the main character is inspirational, faithful, and unforgettable. ...more
Meg Mims
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Most Christian authors soothe their readers with what they want to read - inspiring words and a struggle or two that wraps up nicely in the end. Few would tackle the subject of a "toxic church" and its affects. Shelley Bates is one.

Her first novel, Grounds to Believe, won a Rita from Romance Writers of America. It laid the foundation for the second book in the series, Pocketful of Pearls. Bates allows the reader to interface with this strange world of the Elect, both with the heroes from outside
Jun 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
I didn't notice that this was a Christian book until I was a few pages in, but kept reading just to see how it was. Not bad, but not great. The premise was interesting (from an outsider's standpoint) as it's Christians vs. Christians, determining whose denomination is better. No complete heathens (like me) were saved, which would have been the book's death knell from my standpoint. Anyway, I'm unlikely to pick up another, unless, like this one, I just don't notice until I've got it home from the ...more
Jenni Adkins
Jul 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Started out as a creepy religious cult molestation story, but ended up being a Christian themed message that ended great. Sad, but good.
Kathleen Clark
Jan 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Didn't realize this was #2, will have to try to find #1. Enjoyed this, different, not as easy as some I have read. ...more
A. R.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it liked it
"Pocketful of Pearls" is a love and rescue story. Dinah is a young woman raised in a strict and unsavory religious group. They are led by "The Shepherd" who is anything but a loving leader. The order has more rules of behavior than true Christian teachings. Along comes Matthew, an unemployed university professor who has had a troubled past of his own. He's hired by Dinah to be a ranch hand after Dinah's father's death.

I enjoyed the story. Was happy that the ending, although happy, wasn't sacchar
A.D. Lawrence
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Winner!

I didn’t think it was possible for book two to hook me like book one did. I was wrong. Amazing characters and an engaging plot kept me turning pages.
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

Dinah Traynell has a dark secret. As a member of a strict religious organization, the Elect, she weighs every move and decision in light of church rules. Even at twenty-four, living on her own seems like a dream to Dinah, especially since her father has just died and she must help her mother run the farm. Phinehas, the chief Shepherd of the Elect, is both revered and feared. Families are deeply honored when he graces them with a visit, and since Dinah's family is favored, Phinehas stays with the
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
After picking this up on a whim (and for a good price), I was blown away by the storytelling and the volatile, emotion-evicting setting focused around a country cult. With my own turbulent past with Christianity and organized religion in general, I really identified with the themes and issues addressed in this book, like the power that a figurehead holds over his/her followers, the pressures that family imposes on one's actions, the moral dilemmas encountered when living in a closed religious se ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who has suffered any type of abuse.
Shelves: owned-books, abuse, cult
Ever start a book and hate what you are reading yet you cannot put it down? That's how this one. The subject matter is heartbreaking but the writing is superb.

I found myself totally engrossed in the storyline and kept hoping things would improve for Dinah. There is so much I want to say about this novel but I don't want to give anything away. Let's just say that I'm thankful that I never got involved in a cult nor have I gone through what some of these folks have.

I strongly recommend this story
Ann Miller
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A deep and satisfying read. The book is mufti-faceted, tackling a tough topic--sexual abuse within a cult--dysfunctional family relationships, and romance. Her writing makes me wish for a shelf full of her books. I'm impressed with her writing skill as well as her storytelling. I have only kudos and no criticisms. Bates has since jumped genres to YA, writing as Shelley Adina, and I miss her adult writing. Her teen novels are excellent, but she's left me hungry for more grown-up books. I can't be ...more
Aug 31, 2008 rated it liked it
This is totally NOT the type of book I normally read, as I prefer to get my religious philosophy from more....eastern sources. But I picked it up off the shelf in the living room where my mom had laid it after buying it off the bargain rack at B&N, and started leafing through it. The story, once I got past the rather preachy parts, was decent, and the book was well written. And the over all message is something that I agree with- no matter how damaged you might be, if you put your faith in whate ...more
Dani Moore
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The story of Dinah as she travels through her way out of sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of those who claim to be messengers of God. She is blessed with help from matthew, who has scars of his own. Togeather they work through a maze of lies and fear.
I think many people will think this is about groups like the FLDS. Maybe it is but it cautions against giving any one person the caveate to "Speak for God". Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Judie Dooley
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent story line. Almost impossible to put it down. The story of a young lady who was raised in a very unorthadox chuch. The church was her whole life. it owned her body and soul. Her only way of rebelling against it was to become Bulimic. A stranger comes to her door asking for food and becomes her savior,helping her to see how wrong her life was. I don't want to tell the whole story, so you'll have to read it for yourself. ...more
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
I liked the fact that the pace of the story was quick. I have read many books that have emotionally troubled characters. Lots of times the character stubbornly spends 85% of the book refusing to change/heal even though that metamorphosis is crucial to the plot of the book. In this novel the author keeps the story moving along by having her heroine progress all along the way. Dinah is slowly changing and healing. And you can tell by how she is handling things.
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Bought it off of title alone, as I often do. I applaud tackling some very difficult topics but the "big reveal" was predictable and its wraps up too tidily and too hastily after really a lot of re-hashing through out the book. I've done better, I've done worse. ...more
Carol B.
Sep 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
I am starting this on the recommendation of my mom. I'll let you know. ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I re-read this a month or so ago. Even for a re-read it was good, although a tad depressing at times. It was interesting to revisit, but I don't plan on reading it again, so I gave it away. ...more
Lorene Evans
Jul 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Decent, but not great. I picked it up at the library and didn't know it was a religious book. Still, readable, and definitely interesting. ...more
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a great book!!! Definately recommend this one!
Jamee Hardy
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
very interesting. I liked it!
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
this was a suprise for me. It was good but I wasn't expecting it to be! ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
A bit too predictable.
Jan 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, favorites
Great book! I always love a good Christian romance with lots of scandal! ;) This one's a page turner! ...more
Jul 26, 2008 rated it liked it
I really liked it, easy read, somewhat hokey at times but a good story with a few twists!
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Jan 27, 2016 08:23AM  

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Shelley Bates holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, where she teaches as adjunct faculty. She was the winner of RWA's RITA Award for Best Inspirational Novel in 2005, a finalist for that award in 2006, and, writing as Shelley Adina, was a Christy Award finalist in 2009. Three of her books have shortlisted for the American Christian Fiction Writers' ...more

Other books in the series

Smoke River (4 books)
  • Grounds To Believe (Elect Trilogy, #1)
  • A Sounding Brass (Elect Trilogy #3)
  • Over Her Head

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