Friday, April 5, 2013

The Good Girl by Christy Barritt

 by Dina Sleiman

Christy, Dina, and Roger
A little over a year ago, I took a road trip to Charlottesville with my good friend, author Christy Barritt. We went up for the Virginia Festival of the Book, and for me to check out the setting of my last novel, but had lots of time to talk about everything under the sun. Christy has actually been one of my writing mentors over the years, and as usual, she had lots of wise counsel for me. We also discussed one of her books and the possibility of her publishing it with WhiteFire, which I represent as an acquisitions editor.

It seemed like a perfect fit, an edgy chick-lit mystery novel with romance, but I barely dared to dream. This was Christy Barritt, after all. Award-winning, multi-published author. So when she came back to me later in the spring to officially pitch the idea to WhiteFire, I was ecstatic. And Roseanna White was equally ecstatic. Since we’d both read and loved Christy’s similar Squeaky Clean Series, it was a no-brainer. We accepted the book on proposal only, and in record time.

And Christy did not disappoint. I had the privilege of being the first to read The Good Girl, and it was about as perfect as you could imagine. Here’s the official blurb:

What's a good girl to do when life goes bad?

Tara Lancaster can sing Amazing Grace in three harmonies, two languages, and interpret it for the hearing impaired. She can list the Bible canon backward, forward, and alphabetized. And the only time she ever missed church was at seventeen because she had pneumonia and her mom made her stay home.

But when her life shatters around her and her reputation is left in ruins, Tara decides escape is the only option. She flees halfway across the country to dog-sit, but the quiet anonymity she needs isn't waiting in her sister's house. Instead she finds a knife with a threatening message, a fame-hungry friend, a too-hunky neighbor, and evidence of...a ghost?

Following all the rules has gotten her nowhere. And nothing she learned in Sunday School can tell her where to go from there.

I love everything about this story. For starters, my favorite style of mystery is the sassy, humorous, chick-lit variety, and it doesn’t get any better than this. Tara's blue-haired friend is hysterical, and there's a super fun reality TV element. Yet the story is full of suspense, according to one reviewer, almost turning a thriller at the darkest point. You won’t be bored for a second. And the romance is great too.

But by far my favorite aspect of this book is the spiritual thread. I love this story of a girl who has done everything right, yet her life still goes wrong. Surrounded by a cast of colorful characters, Tara begins her search for a very real and relevant faith, taking the reader along her journey. I’m sure this book will touch many lives, and I’m so thankful that I got to be a part of bringing it to the reading public.

Have you ever done everything right, only to have life turn wrong anyway? How did you handle the situation? What do you think of a possible ghost in a Christian novel? 


  1. The Good Girl sounds like an awesome read.

    As for your question... I don't think I've ever done everything right in my life. i've always mucked up at least one thing, so i've never been surprised when things go caddy-whompus on me. i'm usually surprised when things actually go right.

  2. I can't wait to read this book! Great review, Dina.

    And your questions? Well, yes, there have been two stand-out times in my life when I did what I thought was right and things did not go well. I'm still not sure what God had in mind but I did get the big reminder that He's always with me, and a lack of blessing doesn't equate with a lack of His love.

    Here's a big secret about me: I've always wanted to write a ghost story. Just not sure how to make it Christian, LOL--and no, I don't believe in ghosts.

  3. Deb H., good point. None of us deserve the good things we get. I think the Bible is pretty clear about that, although religion often gets confused on this issue. Did you know that Christy lives in Chesapeake? She'll be speaking at our local ACFW meeting in June probably.

  4. Well, Susie, maybe this book will give you some ideas. I'd say in general, it would have to be either a fake ghost or turn out to be a demon.

  5. Oh fun. I really like the premise of this book and have it on my list to read very soon. I have a confession. One of my favorite books has a ghost in it. And like Susie, I don't believe in them. However, they do add a fun element.

  6. I meant to add that I really enjoyed reading about your experience with this book, Dina. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Your welcome, Suzie. It seems a little wierd to "review" books that I've edited, but I think it's fun to give an inside perspective. And since our Friday theme is books we love...

  8. This sounds like a fabulous read. I don't personally mind the possibility of a ghost.

    I have stepped out to do something I thought right and have it go wrong. It was painful and I think I'm still dealing with the fall out ala Suzie's post from yesterday. But I can say that I trust God had a plan.

  9. You know, Lisa, in this book God uses the situation to ultimately draw the heroine closer to Himself. I hope that will be true for you as well.

  10. I think this sounds fantastic and I'm definitely planning on reading it.
    Thanks Dina!

  11. Dina
    i really do need to connect with the local AFCW. perhaps you could refresh my memory.

    nm8r67 at hotmail dot com

  12. Thank you Dina for highlighting this book and congratulations to Christy and to WhiteFire.


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